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SBD/May 21, 2014/Media
NBC's Belmont Stakes Viewership Could Triple; Net Claims Primetime Demographic Win
Published May 21, 2014
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BACK ON TOP: VARIETY's Rick Kissell wrote it has "been a while, but the Peacock can again spread its feathers with pride." NBC vaulted to an "unlikely first-place finish for the season in key demos." It is the first time NBC has been "perched atop the network standings at season's end since 'Friends' exited its air following" the '03-04 season. As always, sports "was a key factor in the network race." For NBC, 18 nights of the Sochi Games "certainly helped pad its averages, but even with those nights excluded, the net still would have eked past Fox for most adults 18-49 viewers." The first-place finish for NBC can be "largely attributed to its top three series," including "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice," and "The Blacklist." "SNF" is the season's "No. 1 series in 18-49" (VARIETY.com, 4/20).
HIGHS AND LOWS: In L.A., Meg James noted NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke took over the top job "at a time when NBC Entertainment was hemorrhaging" $600M a year. But NBC's broadcast of the Sochi Games in February "unfolded without a hitch -- and made money." The IOC even "handed NBCUniversal the U.S. broadcast rights to the Games for 18 more years." Burke said, "It has been an incredible few months -- we are firing on all cylinders." However, Burke had "one high-profile setback at this year." The bid that he and Lazarus "put together to nab the new Thursday night NFL Football package was rejected." Burke said, "The competitive side of me really wanted it. I felt like I let everyone down" (L.A. TIMES, 5/20).