The immediate pain of the just announced layoffs at NBC will be felt by the 750 employees that lose their jobs. But there is more harm in this plan, and it may spread even further.
First, many analysts note that the bulk of the cuts are going to come from the news divisions. NBC has stated that they will be consolidating operations from the network news, MSNBC, Telemundo, the station group and the NBC News Channel into one or two sites. This will reduce the diversity of reporting to an ever narrower stream of homogenized content. Good going NBC, that’s just what television news needs.
Secondly, NBC revealed that they will be turning the 8:00 pm hour into a reality block. Reality shows are cheap to make and are owned in greater measure by the network. This decision is a double punch in the gut to the creative producers of scripted programs (comedies and dramas). Not only will there be fewer timeslots available to place their product, they are also being shut out of the market because the network is choosing to buy programs from itself. The result is that independent production companies, which have been disappearing rapidly, will accelerate their exit from the television stage.
So to summarize:
- 750 people lose their jobs.
- Creative programming loses out to Reality programming.
- And all Americans lose even more outlets for their news.
And this is what NBC Uni Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker says is his blueprint for TV 2.0. If this is his idea of an upgrade, I think I’d prefer to stick with the old version. And that’s a pretty depressing thought in and of itself.
But the bottom line is that NBC’s initiative to streamline it’s operations is going to hurt millions more than the 750 unfortunates they are leaving on the cutting room floor. And these decisions are being made by the same executives that plunged NBC into 4th place. If these losers think this plan is going to be good for business, they are just providing new evidence of their cluelessness.