Since being merged with Comcast, NBC Television Network has been working to shed its #4 status among the Big Four networks, and many observers think that its willingness to spend here and cut there shows smarts and discipline.
On the spending side, according to a piece by Associated Press televisions scribe Lynn Elber, are billions committed to key sports programming, including an $8B investment in NFL programming, and another $4.4B in hanging onto Olympics rights.
The cutting side has most notably come at the expense of “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno. Reports are rampant that Matt Lauer’s salary may suffer shrinkage as do the ratings of the “Today Show,” and “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin has proactively offered to take a pay cut (which will be a moot point since the program is said to be in its final season).
According to the report, individuals with front-office broadcast experience have generally praised the company’s approach to revitalizing the network. And CEO Stephen Burke has underscored the positive feedback with assurances to the investing community that bringing renewed life to the network is a major Comcast priority.
It is enjoying early ratings success in the new 2012-2013 season, with “The Voice” leading the way to ratings respectability and promising starts from new offerings like “Revolution” and “Go On.”
Anthony DiClemente of Barclays Capital believes the network may be taking the right approach, particularly as it attempts to manage expenses in the ever-more fragmented video marketplace. He is impressed that the network is enjoying a ratings rebound despite its focus on the expenditure column of the ledger sheet.
And of course, the wallet is wide open when it comes to certain core programming franchises, headed by its commitment to the National Football League.