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Must “Not” See TV. NBC Cutting Primetime

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Network television is on life support.

Whether it’s the quality of the programming, which has worsened in recent years, or the influence of streaming on peoples viewing habits, what was once a staple of American life is dying a slow, painful death.

It’s hard not to say, “good riddance”.

Network television just is no longer compelling. Forced diversity, canned laughter, stale, trite storylines; once again I sound like a bitter old dude, but the failure of the networks to hold viewers proves I am right. I love being right.

Remember “must see tv” in the 80’s and 90’s on NBC? Cheers, Frasier, Friends (too white for me), Cosby, Seinfeld, Family Ties; all iconic shows that offered something for everyone.

The ten o’clock slot on NBC was an absolute juggernaut. ER launched the careers of so many stars. George Clooney anyone? Law and Order has been an iconic title for almost two decades.

Well, recently NBC has announced they are canning the ten o’clock primetime slot. So much for must see tv! Check this out from The Blaze:

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NBC is considering cutting back its longstanding primetime schedule, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Some insiders consider the move a cost-cutting measure. However, Variety reports that its sources say NBC is “not mulling this as a cost-cutting move.” Instead, the change might be made to help the network improve its relationship with affiliates. Either way, such a departure from NBC’s longstanding schedule would be yet another indicator of broadcast television’s waning popularity.

Local programming is much cheaper for the local affiliates, and the network doesn’t have to spend any money on it, so this move makes sense from a fiscal standpoint.

However, ditching an hour of primetime shows is essentially NBC admitting they are doomed.

Considering the quality of the programming, and the streaming options out there, NBC might well BE doomed.

Under the scenario being discussed, NBC would stop producing national programming during the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour and give that time slot to local TV stations.

Local stations fill the hours not programmed by the networks with content such as daytime talk shows and news. Deadline reports that while local TV faces challenges similar to those faced by broadcast and cable networks, local stations have seen a “windfall in political advertising.” Additionally, local news programming is relatively cheap to produce and continues to garner reliable ratings in many markets.

It’s all about the Benjamin’s folks. There simply aren’t as many eyeballs on network tv, especially at ten as there used to be.

Interestingly, Fox network has never had primetime programming in that time slot, instead opting for local news.

It remains to be seen what local affiliates will do at the ten o’clock slot, but in house programming or reruns are most likely, saving NBC money, but ultimately hurting the local station when people turn to streaming instead of bad local programming.

If NBC enacts the change, it would mark a “symbolic yet significant change” to the American television landscape.

NBC once used the 10 p.m. hour to air landmark dramas like “ER” and “Law & Order.”

The days of the great American network television drama are over.

Just like the real New York City, there is no Law and Order for NBC, and network television in general might end up in the ER.