jumped the shark in 2004.
The Apprentice was the hottest show on television. We're talking absolute must see TV that was oozing buzz. NBC tried to capitalize on the show's success and put all their eggs in the Donald's reality basket.
I said it then, and I'm saying it now - moving The Apprentice to anchor Thursday nights sent the network right over the fin.
ABC learned its lesson with Millionaire. CBS always had CSI and Everybody Loves Raymond to go with Survivor and The Amazing Race.
Thursday nights belonged to NBC. It lost Friends and Frasier (which had jumped the shark years ago) and had nothing in the pipeline. First to fourth wasn't an "if", it was a "when".
I understand how tempting it is to lead off each night with a game show or reality show (i.e. inexpensive show). It's also another big mistake. Deal or No Deal is getting pummeled into the ground as I type as the contestants get more and more "wacky".
So you're Jeff Zucker... what do you do? Glad you asked.
1. Pluck Cable - The Universal merger gives NBC countless cable networks to use as a farm system. Take a show like Project Runway off Bravo and put it on the big network. Watch what happens.
2. Scale Back - Deal or No Deal once a week. Please. Make those suitcases a special thing.
3. Hero Worship - Heroes is a hit and could easily turn into the show of the year. Don't add cheesy marketing slogans like "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World." It doesn't need that. It needs a good show to go along with it.
4. Themes - Sunday is football night. Start the evening with the critically acclaimed/barely watched Friday Night Lights? Saturday is burn-off-the-shows-that-didn't-hit night. And as long as millions keep watching Law & Order, might as well have them all on the same night. A full night of the original, CI and SVU. You're already two thirds of the way there on Tuesdays.
5. More Creeps - We're fascinated by the creepy host and participants on the Dateline: To Catch A Predator series. Let's see those with more regularity.
6. Kill SNL and its Progeny - Having two shows spoofing your own irrelevant late night show is painful enough. Studio 60, 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live should all go away. That means big cash savings, and lots of empty time slots to play with.
7. Office Space - The next Seinfeld is already within your grasp - it's called The Office. Move it to Thursdays at 9, give it the right lead in ( Heroes, anyone?) and bookend it with another great comedy (oh yeah, there's Scrubs). Thursdays on NBC - we'll all be there.
The answer to NBC's problems isn't job cuts and cheaper shows. The solution is airing quality programming on the right nights.
Forget the Cheerleader Save NBC
jumped the shark in 2004.