NBC must think they really have something in this little show they call "Saturday Night Live" or SNL. So much so that they are dedicating two shows in their prime-time lineup that are set in a fictionalized version of the long running sketch-comedy show.
In the investment business this is what we would call a "texas hedge." Rather than hedging their bets this move serves to leverage their exposure to the once popular SNL. ("Lazy Sunday" being an exception) It will interesting to see if success (or failure) in primetime has any positive spillover effects.
Both shows on the schedule have good pedigrees, and are admittedly different takes on the topic. "30 Rock" is a half-hour comedy (we assume) and "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip" is a one-hour drama(edy). Brook Barnes at the Wall Street Journal looks at the prospects for the latter show and the great hope NBC is putting in the show to turn around the lagging network.
.."Studio 60" is NBC's No. 1 priority. The network and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., the studio that serves as Mr. Sorkin's base, have kept the series swathed in an unusual amount of secrecy because so much is riding on it. "This is a pivotal year for us, and we're certainly looking to this series to be part of the turnaround," Mr. Reilly says.
Is "Studio 60" a grand slam? Well, NBC may not want to shift into a home run trot just yet. The show's sometimes harsh tone could turn some viewers off. The central characters have skeletons in their closets — one of the fictional executive producers has a cocaine problem in his past — and the show flirts with being too inside-baseball. Characters speak the Hollywood lingo of Nielsen "shares."
We are looking forward to the Aaron Sorkin-helmed, "60 Sunset." But count us surprised that NBC is wagering so much on the fond memories of an era that no longer exists. Then again what do we know about programming a commercial network? We have problems enough programming our Netflix queue.
David B. Wilkersen at Marketwatch.com runs down the new NBC lineup including an update on their move to put a great deal of comedy content on a new site: dotcomedy.com. Denise Martin at Variety.com also looks at the newly announced NBC lineup.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…..