NBCU programming on the bubble


The head of NBC Entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, told the Television Critics Association that three shows his company has a hand in are on the bubble – and perhaps what is most interesting about the names of the programs is the fact that only two of them are or have been aired on NBC Television Network.

According to a New York Times report, Greenblatt addressed the new comedy “Community,” which has had trouble developing an audience and was pulled from the NBC Thursday prime time schedule. He said it is not a goner, at least not yet, and may return to the air at some point. That decision is pending.

Another program, which has been much more popular with critics than average Americans over the years, is “30 Rock.” It is about to return to the schedule after time-off for star Tina Fey’s pregnancy leave. Greenblatt said that it struck a deal to keep co-star Alec Baldwin with the program for another two years, but at the same time, he acknowledged that the program is not a lock to be back on the schedule next year.

The third program is “House”. Although it airs on Fox, it is produced by NBCU. The problem is that the program is expensive to produce, on top of being presumed to be in its final season. Greenblatt said that his company would be happy to keep the show going on Fox, and is exploring how that might be done at a lower cost. He did not see moving the program to the NBC schedule as a particularly viable option.

Greenblatt also defended the decision to hire Howard Stern as a judge on “America’s Got Talent.” He assured those assembled that Stern would not be employing and shock jock schtick and that the program would remain safe for family viewing. At the same time, he said that any families that want no part of the Stern, it’s their choice.