As rumors circulate about the cancellation of Chuck and Knight Rider, does those series' fate — and NBC's fate as a network — rest in the hands of marketing consultants? A new report suggests so.
With the Hollywood Reporter suggesting that Knight Rider is headed for the chopping block and Chuck fans so nervous about the show that they've pre-emptively created an online petition in support of a third season in case one is needed, it's no surprise that we're worried about the future of science fiction on the network. But, according to Variety, that's just part of a larger problem for the network... Namely, that no-one knows what NBC means anymore:
In its "Must See" days, the Peacock's brand was pretty clear, while ABC was all over the map. These days, the Alphabet web has a handle on its brand — it's the home of female-driven series like "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Bachelor" — while CBS (crime drama and broad comedy) and Fox ("American Idol" and male-driven skeins) are also easy to identify.
NBC's solution? Bring in the branding guys. The network's president of entertainment marketing, Adam Stotsky (who'd previously dealt with a similar problem at the SciFi Channel), has spearheaded a new initiative that has brought in outside consultants Naked Communications to decide what kind of channel NBC will become. And they're not just talking about advertising, as Stotsky explains:
There's an inextricable link between marketing and programming... These two things define the brand. We're all aligned against the same goals.
Specifically, Stotsky went on to say, what Naked defines as the NBC brand will help executives decide on what pilots and series to greenlight for next fall and beyond... So if anyone has any idea how to sway Naked into telling NBC that they should be a network that's very SF friendly, and also the kind of channel that lets talented creators (like, say, Ron Moore or Heroes and Lost alum Jesse Alexander, who has a pilot in with the network right now) do whatever they want without kowtowing to ratings or advertisers, that'd be great. Otherwise things could look very bleak at the Peacock in future.
NBC's turn for an extreme makeover [Variety]