The Biz


The Biz: Can NBC Be Saved?

Robert Greenblatt

NBC will soon have a new owner, a new entertainment chief — and a long road back to prime-time ratings success.

Once the government gives its stamp of approval to cable company Comcast's deal to buy a controlling interest in NBC Universal, former Showtime chief Robert Greenblatt will try to restore the luster of NBC's entertainment division. While NBC is a powerhouse in TV news and its cable networks are a profit machine (current executives in both divisions will remain in place when Comcast takes over), the most visible aspect of its business — the broadcast network's prime-time lineup — has deteriorated steadily throughout the decade. The once proud peacock has not turned out a new major ratings hit in five years, and its biggest shows — The Office, Law & Order: SVU and The Biggest Loser — are aging and in decline.

New management is looking for a rescue effort from Greenblatt, who in seven years at Showtime stewarded such lauded series ... read more

The Biz: History Feels the Need for Speed

Top Gear

Since the late 1990s, British imports such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Dancing With the Stars and American Idol have become ratings blockbusters in the United States. But stateside success has eluded one of the biggest Brit hits of them all.

It's Top Gear, the rollicking reality/talk-show hybrid from the BBC that features three British automotive journalists gabbing about cars and performing elaborate and occasionally breathtaking stunts and challenges. The series, which has been shown here on BBC America, has been a worldwide sensation for almost 10 years and was recently the subject of a 60 Minutes profile. The studio ...
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The Biz: Fox & Friends Gets the Last Laugh

Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade

Every day, 1.2 million viewers are waking up with Fox News' Fox & Friends, an audience that towers over other cable-news morning shows. But the breezy style of the three coanchors — Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade — has also made the program fodder for the likes of Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and The Soup's Joel McHale. TV Guide Magazine talked to the trio to find out if they're in on the joke.

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The Biz: Conan the Destroyer?

Conan O'Brien

The set for Conan O'Brien's new TBS late-night show is just two miles from where the host served his ill-fated stint on NBC's The Tonight Show. But O'Brien's longtime sidekick Andy Richter says the mood feels a million miles away. "It's kind of like... read more

The Biz: Why ABC Should Save Detroit 1-8-7

Aisha Hinds

Aisha Hinds, who plays Lt. Maureen Mason on ABC's Detroit 1-8-7, was feeling the love recently while at a Trader Joe's in Royal Oak, Michigan. "A woman wanted to give me her entire cart of groceries," she says. "I just came in for a bottle of water."

That's a typical reaction in the Detroit area ... read more

The Biz: Brian Williams Stays on Top of the News

Brian Williams

It's not easy being a traditional TV newsman in a new-media world. But Brian Williams, who grew up worshipping Walter Cronkite, remains the most watched anchor as NBC Nightly News averages 8 million viewers ...
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The Biz: Can the New Judges Save American Idol?

Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler

Get ready for a kinder, gentler American Idol. That was the first impression from the new panel of judges that Fox finally made official on September 22. Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and pop-music diva/actress Jennifer Lopez will join Randy Jackson at the dais when television's top-rated show returns for its 10th season in January.

"I believe in tough love, but ... read more

How Can Broadcast News Survive?

Katie Couric

You can't blame broadcast news for having a bad case of cable envy.

Fox News Channel has seen its profits double this year, thanks to growing ratings and higher fees from cable systems. NBC News can share its news-gathering costs with MSNBC, which has also turned into a big moneymaker. Even CNN, beleaguered by declining audiences and under pressure to bolster its program lineup, rakes in ... read more

ABC News President David Westin Resigns

David Westin

ABC News president David Westin is calling it quits.

In an e-mail message, Westin told colleagues late Monday "there are some other things I want to do professionally — things that I can't explore while fulfilling my responsibilities here." He has agreed to remain at ABC News until a successor is named.

While the announcement came suddenly, news industry insiders heard that ABC recently hired an executive search firm to scout out replacements for Westin... read more

The Biz: Will Conan O'Brien Be Back on NBC?

Conan O'Brien

There's a chance Conan O'Brien could return to NBC's airwaves—albeit very briefly. ... read more

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