No. 1 NBC, as The Voice Rests and Revolution Pauses, Expects a 'Leveling of the Playing Field'

The Voice, RevolutionOnce an easy target, the Peacock network is standing proud as the fall season draws to a close.

To date, NBC has won (or tied for No. 1) seven out of the past eight weeks, led eight consecutive Mondays in the coveted 18-49 demo and done the same for six straight Tuesdays. The network’s most recent superlative is no less than its first November sweeps win in nine years (averaging a 2.8 rating to runner-up CBS’ 2.4).

That said, buoyed as it has been by The Voice (a dominant force on Mondays and Tuesdays) and the freshman hit Revolution (which has outrated time slot rivals Castle and Hawaii Five-0 in every face-off to date and at last count swelled to a 4.6 rating with Live+7 DVR playback), NBC knows a downturn is unavoidable, as both of those shows sign off for more than three months following their respective Season 3 and fall finales (airing Dec. 18 and Nov. 26).

“I do know that we’re going to drop,” NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt told TVLine during a Tuesday conference call.

RELATED | Exclusive First Look: Revolution‘s Fall Finale Poster Promises the Beginning of a Battle

In addition to The Voice going silent and Revolution powering down until March 25, “There are some big competitive things coming, with [Season 12 of Fox's] American Idol and the Super Bowl [airing on CBS],” Greenblatt noted. “So we expect a pretty significant leveling of the playing field.

“But we knew that going in,” he stressed, “so to start out this strong [in the fall] feels like a big accomplishment. We’re going to stay the course and do our best, and once we get into March I think we’ll be back in the game in a big way.”

Assuming that the audience for any new cycle of a reality competition is more or less a constant — though The Voice will be changing up its coaches — NBC biggest nut to crack is the reboot of Revolution after a four-month break, which the creators of similar genre-TV series such as V and FlashForward can tell you is no easy feat.

To that end, Greenblatt says there are tentative plans to keep the Revolution alive during the winter via “original content” on digital platforms. “It’s important to not let it completely go away and then start from scratch again” in March, he explained. He also foresees a meaty marketing push come spring.

But the biggest bid to retain the adventure-drama’s Live+7 audience of 12 million weekly viewers may rest on the storytelling itself. “The first episode back… is a big episode that completely turns the story in a really significant way,” the exec shared. “It kind of sends the second half of the season off on a new trajectory.”

RELATED | Michael Slezak Recaps The Voice’s Best Episode Ever…?!

Defending the decision to bench Revolution for so long a stretch, Greenblatt contended that it’s in the best interests of the buzzy hit, which might have languished in a sadder way leading out of The Voice‘s Monday replacement, The Biggest Loser (which returns the first week of January).

“One of the reasons why we wanted to hold it back is because it would again be paired up with a really strong lead-in,” he said. Besides, the production schedule for a large-scale, location-driven and at-times effects-heavy drama would have dictated multiple interruptions anyway. “It would have been two on, two off… one on, two off… an erratic schedule, and that’s just as difficult for an audience to follow. So I guess it’s going to follow more of a [split] cable season [schedule], and hopefully we’ll come back strong.”

Do you credit NBC with a comeback this fall? Do you suspect that Season 4 of The Voice (with its tweaked cast) and the back half of Revolution‘s maiden voyage could hit a snag?

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50 Comments
  1. LOL says:

    It won’t last. Community comes back in February & NBC will return to last place where it belongs

  2. John says:

    The splits work (but I hate them) for the cables, for a main network and it’s different audience?

    That’s a big gamble.

  3. It also does well on Fridays with Grimm on demos, if that’s all you’re going with, most nights it’ll top the night.

  4. Stacey says:

    He’s dreaming if a three to four month hiatus in the middle of a show’s run when ratings are already starting to fade will keep the show from being killed when it does come back. People will forget about. No amount of digital plans will allow it to be kept in people’s mind. Not like Glee’s early days when people had music downloads and they hurred up half a season on DVD to stores. The Voice will be unpredictable with new batch of judges. A big leadin doesn’t save all shows. Even if the Voice does come back strong…

    • the girl says:

      I disagree primarily because the split seasons do just fine on cable. Also there aren’t masses of people who stop watching a show after a summer break, so why think that a winter break would cause people to lose interest?

      • Ella B. says:

        Network and cable shows tend to pull different audiences — since cable is more specific you usually know what you want to watch and seek it out, but the network shows get eyeballs with the “power up the tv and see whats on and good” viewers, is switching it up on them is risky. If the people who’ve been watching Revolution turn on the TV in two weeks and dont like what they see, they’re more likely to hop over to another channel and find something else. By the time NBC puts it back on the schedule in March, a lot people will have had the chance to forget about it and find something else to occupy their 10/9c Monday night slot.

        • Matt says:

          Not sure I understand this thinking–what does it matter what channel a show is on? If you like it, you’ll watch it. Do people start watching a show on network TV and then out of nowhere just start channel surfing “to see what’s good”? I don’t get why something on USA or AMC splitting a season up is completely fine/ doesn’t bother anyone, but a network show doing it causes a giant uproar and all of a sudden no one is gonna care when it comes back?? If you’re a huge Revolution fan and you love the show, would you not come back because it took a break for a few months? Like when it gets going again you’ve all of a sudden forgot everything that happened and have lost all interest… but when Mad Men or Breaking Bad go off for an entire year it’s like it never left?

          I’m not comparing the quality of these particular shows, I’m just saying it makes absolutely no sense that a hiatus will kill a network show but yet every single cable show does it every single season and no one bats an eye. If I like a show, I watch it whenever it comes back. Doesn’t matter what channel or format it’s on. Show’s have season finales every year and go off the air for four months, it’s not that serious. Plus it means when they do come back, they run straight through instead of all over the place.

          • Tina says:

            I agree. I mean Vampire Diaries had a break then had a month or two of episode then had a one month break. People still watch that so why does it matter if revolution took a break? I’m still going to watch.

  5. Darcy says:

    I don’t think it’s very smart to pull Revolution for 4 months…if it’s doing that well it’s NOT because of what the lead-in is…and 4 months off is going to drain viewers…the same way it did with The Event. You can’t take a freshman show and pull it off the air for 4 months and expect people to stay with it. Also who cares if they are putting original content on the web in the down time…do people actually watch that stuff? sure people watch streaming TV episodes but do they actively seek out original webisodes…I think NBC is tanking it’s opportunity to gain ground on the other networks…you can do split seasons on Cable and even with an established show you can take LONG hiatus’ (like Lost did) but if people haven’t had multiple seasons to be invested in a show what’s to keep them from flipping and never coming back…you really dropped the ball on a huge advantage NBC!

    • Ruby says:

      I love revolution. why is it being pulled and resuming in march. I Think this is a bad idea. I remember when this would never happen to a show. The show with new episodes would run until the spring and then would start repeats. Now the shows could have been on for 2 months and repeats start. I can’t believe how poor the writers have become. This causes the viewers to become uninterested and stop watching the show. How would you like it if you were watching a show and suddenly the show just stopped in the middle of the season and show a finale. tv has really gotten poor. Back in the day tv was so good but now it is something to be desired. The writers and producers need to go back and look at the writers and producers from yester years and learn something from them. They just treat there viewers like crap. There aren’t many good show on and when they get a good show they compete it against another good show on another channel which makes no sense. Why would you do this. Viewers has to either record the other show or miss it. I don’t know if the writers aren’t good enough to continue to write new shows or they are just lazy. I’m sure they make a lot of money for each episode. Maybe the money they make they don’t need to work that hard. Something has to change tv is nothing anymore.

    • Tina says:

      One flaw to your system. Vampire Diares has only four seasons and people watch it even after the long 4-5 month breaks.

  6. Gotta love spin says:

    Sure “winning” apparently only means ‘in the demo’ these days, but Castle consistently beats NBC and CBS in total viewers and just posted gains (and won the 25-54 women demo). NBC isn’t #1 in total viewers and has no hope of being any time soon. Just because it’s the truth that advertisers are ageist, that doesn’t make NBC #1. They just have the ultimate financial silver lining for their bridesmaid status. That’s all that really is. You don’t think they’d want to win both the demo and total viewers? Cuz they would. They’d absolutely hit the press with “most watched network” claims. Too bad they can’t. Nice try with the spin, NBC. I’ll pass on Hunger Games Lite.

    • ugh says:

      it’s not ageist. it’s proven that “the demo” is the most lucrative of age groups to advertisers. this isn’t spin, this is the demographic that all networks try to pander to, because it’s what’s important to their advertisers. total viewership is obviously important, but the industry wouldn’t make a big deal out of winning the demo if it wasn’t equally as important.

      people have been making a similar argument with late DVR viewership and internet viewing. this isn’t a popularity contest, ratings are only important as a barometer for the value of a specific program. and like it or not, the networks and advertisers dictate what kinds of ratings matter.

    • Kevin H. says:

      Troll say what?

    • John R says:

      The next idiot who calls Revolution a Hunger Games-lite is gonna eat my fist! Don’t be so naive! Also, its only the demo that matters. Don’t you think CBS would love to spin their stories such that they won in demo on every one of their shows?

  7. They didn’t have a breakthrough year. Their ratings are up simply because of The Voice and because the other networks have dropped significantly compared to last year. Just look at Sunday – NBC has football, which is a juggernaut. Three hours of huge ratings. ABC’s, CBS’s and FOX’s Sunday lineup have dropped a lot since last fall.

    NBC’s Thursdays are a train wreck, Wednesdays are on the verge of being one as well. Yes, they’re showing signs of progress, but they won’t be able to keep it up. The Voice will lose steam, especially with Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo taking a season off. Revolution will continue to drop and will eventually be canceled, either this May or after a 13-episode second season (mark my words). Go On and The New Normal will get pity renewals. They’ll be sorry they gave Chicago Fire a full season. The multi-cam version of Up All Night will be a train wreck. 1600 Penn will be a flop, and Smash will probably get much lower ratings than Parenthood without The Voice as it’s lead-in and will be axed as well.

    If they don’t get a good crop of pilots for next fall, they’ll drop to number 2 in no time. Maybe even number three, but with ABC & FOX in big trouble, I don’t see that happening.

    • Trent says:

      Wow, ease off the haterade. I’m not sure why so many are invested in the idea of NBC flopping. As a big fan of Parenthood, Parks & Rec, Community, Grimm and other NBC shows I’m happy that they’re becoming more competitive. And as far as “resting” Revolution, what else can the network do? There are only 22 episodes of any show to spread over a 9-month season. If they ran Revolution straight through (like “24″) that’s great for us, but they would still have to come up with content for the second half of the season. I think viewers need to be more realistic.

    • John R says:

      I don’t think you realize that even CBS and FOX have sports programming. CBS even has the Superbowl next year. So, back off. This is a win for NBC. It increased in ratings by almost 25% compared to last year.

  8. Benjamin says:

    It’s a gamble sure, and hasn’t worked very well for genreshows on broadcast networks, but it has been effective on cable, look at how well The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Homeland etc. do after a break, they come back with their core audience in tact and sometimes even build off it.
    You never know, this may give a chance for people to catch up on it who haven’t had time and maybe put it on the back burner, we already see a lot of positive Live+7, and it could even grow more than that!

    • KP Houlihan says:

      Sons of Anarchy nor any of the other FX shows take a break in between their seasons. The cable networks simply don’t have the resources for a 22-24 episode season, their seasons are only 13 episodes long. I hate this whole splitting seasons in half – it has the potential to ruin shows. Case in point is Syfy’s Warehouse 13 – great F’n show – fantastic actors, people love it, but Syfy has an embarrassment of riches – too many good shows – and they think that they can get away with taking such a long break in between their seasons. But what’s going to happen is that they are going to lose actors. One of them is already on Fox’s The Following and Allison Scagliotti and Joanne Kelly are both so talented that it’s only a matter of time before some other show scoops them up, too.

      I love Revolution – I hope it survives. I want to hate NBC for splitting the season – but I’d rather have them split it into 2 parts instead of doing the 2 episodes on, then 2 off, then 1 then 3 off. I don’t believe that whole bit is about production times, either – networks used to be able to produce a full 22-24 episode season and show it straight, with no interruptions – exempt maybe the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas – but not anymore. I think now they just try to stretch it out to either keep viewers from watching things on the cable networks or to try and show reruns during the times that the cable networks are having their biggest weeks and then showing the final weeks of the network series’ only after the cable shows have concluded.

      It’s not working though – because so many network shows are either available on TV on Demand through my cable company (in the case of CBS – where I can fast forward through the commercials) or someplace like Hulu or, better still, Project-Free TV – I can watch them when they are convenient for me and I don’t have to watch a single second of their attempts to create perceived needs in my psyche with the advertising.

  9. mia says:

    Revolution is going to tank when it comes back in March. That long of a break has killed many a new show that were doing well in the fall.

  10. Gatorbob says:

    Just look at Greenblatt’s short history with NBC, and his poor decisions, he will run this season into the ground as he did last season. Comcast, wake up! Fire Greenblatt!!

  11. John R says:

    I can’t wait 4 months after the mid-season finale! But I do think that instead of 2 month hiatus, a 4 month would work better actually. Its almost a season 2 of sorts. The entire story and the gear will be shifted to a new setting and the pace will be different after it returns. Can’t wait for the finale next week!!

    • Tami says:

      I agree! Instead of one season with a huge summer break it will feel like I get two seasons a year. I actually like the 13 episode arcs with a break – as long as season X and season X.5 actually happen during the same year.

  12. Matt says:

    I will never understand why a network would want to kill the momentum of a show like Revolution. FOUR MONTHS!? It’s bizarre.

  13. Liz says:

    I am so sad that Revolution is going off the air for 4 months…that is just too long to have the show off air. I don’t watch much tv but I tune in every week for the show. i would rather have two weeks off every once and awhile then wait 4 months…

  14. Merrie says:

    I think it is very sad that the networks basically kill these shows off with these long breaks. History repeats itself and I cannot think of a single show that has gotten a second season when they take these “long breaks”. I enjoyed both flash forward and the event and I do not look forward to revolution being cancelled! What ever happened to a season going from September through May?

    • JimC says:

      I agree. These TV execs see it being a successful way to buoy ratings over a longer period of time but the reality is that it can kill shows before their time….particularly the two you mentined, Flash Forward and The Event. They werent great shows but were good shows that could’ve garnered a decent audience if given the chance. I can only think of one show where thus worked, that being Lost. But that show had already collected it’s fanbase well before.

  15. Phantom says:

    L loved Revolution…….I will watch it whenever it comes on. My family used to watch Castle (and taped Hawaii 50″) but once I saw Revolution I changed and we watched it everytime it was on. The storeline was good and we will continue to watche it whenever it comes back on.

  16. Kim says:

    I think 4 months is way too long to go without airing reruns. Reruns annoy some regular viewers but serve two purposes…first and foremost drawing new viewers who missed the first go-round (as I did with the entire season 1 of LOST, but became immediately hooked with the summer rerun of the season). The second argument is to simply keep it on people’s radar. Sorry but you run a huge risk that even some of the faithful viewers (as faithful as you can be on a premier season) will find other ways to use that time, like surfing to other networks and cable channels and finding other things to get hooked on. I’m glad they are experimenting with different ways to air a series, but it’s gone too far with a serial drama to be completely off air for 4 months in what is supposed to be regular season. It’s not like they will make up for it by running it all summer, but hey, that would make sense. If they do, I’ll just wait and watch the whole season then…

  17. heather says:

    look I don’t think its too long at all I will be tune in when march comes I love the show. and I cant wait for revolution to return.

  18. Doug says:

    started to watch last season but the whole show disappeared from my listings.So we missed the rest of the season.

  19. Rick Dawson says:

    People .the number one show on tv is the walking dead and people wait 3 months it on a break and continue to watch after it comes back.just like revolution they will continue to watch.

  20. Beccie says:

    I too am so looking forward to Revolution coming back this March. It seems like we are reeled in only to be cut off the line every time I like what is on. I was so looking forward to watching V when it was on and then it went off and never came back. Please don’t do that to Revolution as it is a great show and on the edge of my set waiting along with many others I watch with and know that do watch.

  21. Linda says:

    I don’t believe that seasonal breaks will necessarily kill a show, but I do know what will. Constantly changing the day and time is a death sentence. I love Bones, but I have missed entire seasons because I could not fined it in it’s previous time slot and the network gives no clue when, if, or where it will return. Viewers should NOT need to search the web to hear what happened to their favorite shows. Networks will have a successful show then move it to try and take another timeslot and end up killing their own show. What a waste.

  22. Jeremy P. LaRocque says:

    Please NBC!!! Do it for everyonez sake!!! You will not regret it!!! I recently discovered Revolution and I immediately fell in love with the concept, and the show is definitely becoming addicting like how Lost was. I think it finally found its footing in the last two episodes. And I truly believe that if its potential is maximised and fully realized, this can be one of the best shows ever, and I watch them all. I pray to all I can they keep this show on and give it a true chance, which a few of those other sci fi never really received.

  23. Jeremy P. LaRocque says:

    Don’t let it go under!!! It will become one of the best sci fi shows ever. Now that we’ve nade it through the hard part, and have a really well, main character developed show, we can get into the endless amount of amazing ideas and themes for the show, just making it better and better each week. I’m excited about this show. It has to stay on. In the meantime, ima do my part and advertise the hell out of it to make sure I do every possible thing I can do to save this show from going in the tank. I ask and urge everyone else to do the same so we cab ensure great scifi tv. We need this!!!

  24. jon says:

    i remeber when heroes was on and the studdenly just stop showing it and left people wondering what going on? im mind NBC have a BAD habit of start a good show then taking off air when it suits then instead of thinking about the people who watch it and take time out to follow a certain show i do hope Revolution does come back but i agree 4 months is way too long which i started to think it was cancelled but i also watch walking dead which is ACE and i be gutted if that got cancelled

  25. Will says:

    You pull an established show for 4 months, you pull it if you only made half a season to test the waters and bring it back asap like walking dead their first year. They had a show gaining and pulled it for 4 months because of a bowl season, ncaaf championship, superbowl, and only 2 months worth of interruptions(at most) to pull a show for a full 4 months, come on. I expected it back first week of Feb then thought it would be last week and now I’m learning it’s next month, I’ll watch it but people aren’t even committed to their partners and nbc thinks people will just air it at the end of March and it’s gonna pick up where it left off with every single viewer, not happenin. It will be starting completely over and have to gain viewers back just in time to go on break again.

  26. Brandon says:

    I don’t care if Revolution or any show I like went on a hiatus for a decade, I would still watch it. Shows we like are seeked out. We don’t just find a show and intentionally replace the one on break out of spite. What kind of delusional line of thinking is that? Sensibilty is beyond elusive these days.

  27. Not ting that would help is if they added a alien to the series like I said if it came to pass that the banks in vaed Aaroradsoehow it places vibrations sedig out signals and SOE bad a–get to thnikig we are trying to disstroy them ormaybe Aaron is just going to become bad filled with rage and try’s to destroy the human race. and miles and bass have to find away to stop him while Rachael and Charlie deal with the rest. And the need to up credit somewhat so the stupid shows on other net works get best time slots I love this show please please keep it on its the only show my family loves I know you will come up with some really grate stuff .thanks a truly big fan of this show…..

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