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When 30 Rock moves to the 10 p.m. time slot on Thursday nights, newly-anointed NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke may face his first sticky scheduling situation.
With NBC’s dramatic midseason shift, which adds one additional hour to its Thursday comedy block and also bumps freshman Outsourced at 10:30, the question becomes: Will the move pay off?
The 10 p.m. hour, which has traditionally been reserved for dramas, will now be privy to two half-hour comedies, one of which has decreased in viewership as the seasons pass and the other in decline as its first season progresses.
30 Rock has averaged 4.9 million during its fifth year, less than the 5.6 million viewers it drew on average when it debuted in 2006. Outsourced, which was given a full season order, premiered to a strong 7.5 million viewers in late September, but has averaged 5.5 million since.
Burke finds himself in an interesting place. He not only becomes the face of the NBC Universal-Comcast behemoth, tackling potential issues like the three-hour comedy block, but he will be tasked to revitalize a stagnant network. He’ll also need to find a way to bridge the niche market afforded by cable (Comcast’s E!, Style, etc.) and the reach of broadcast (NBC Universal).
Whatever happens, Burke has a good example to follow.
His youngest brother William Burke told Advertising Age, “The stimulus for him is more about the work than all of the other stuff that comes with it.”
In fact, Steve Burke’s management style is similar to that of his father’s, which could be a good thing.
Robert Callahan, a longtime Capital Cities — a company Steve Burke’s father Dan Burke and Tom Murphy served as execs at — executive who succeeded Steve Burke as head of ABC’s television stations after Disney purchased the company in the mid-1990s had this to say, “Tom and Dan were real partners. You would almost use the two in the same sentence for anything — a line extension, an acquisition, a budget review. It’s always ‘Tom and Dan.’ “
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