NBC Abandons the Infront

When a network wants to get good advertising revenue for its upcoming lineup, it presents its fall schedules in the upfront marketplace in New York.

In the past two years, NBC has been hosting their own smaller version of the presentation practice, inviting only a few to see their fall lineup in an “infront.” Looks like the network is abandoning its practice this year as they try to recover from several missteps and maintain a strong viewership.

The network is planning on overhauling its evening schedule, in part because of the embarrassing way they handled Jay Leno’s shift to his own talk show and then back again to the Tonight Show, ousting Conan O’Brien from the hosting spot and causing a surge of extremely negative feedback against the network.

The Tonight Show appears to have recovered more or less with 5.6 million viewers on Leno’s return episode, but it’s touch and go as to whether the entire network will follow.

NBC’s current viewer-bringing shows are “Parenthood” and “The Marriage Ref,” but they’re building a new lineup of a reported 20 pilot episodes for possible new shows. They need a hit new show, preferably one that both draws a huge viewership and earns critical acclaim, and at the moment, it’s not at all clear that they have that magic ratings-booster.

In a word of good news, the Olympics coverage from NBC may have helped it shift public perception back toward positive – though it still lags behind other networks including CBS, Fox, and ABC.