NBC Set to Unveil '08-'09 Schedule Next Week

Meets With Marketers One Month Ahead of Rivals

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- NBC will unveil its 2008-2009 programming schedule next week, breaking a tradition of broadcast networks waiting until mid-May to communicate such information.
Michael Pilot
Michael Pilot Credit: Chris Haston

NBC sent invitations for the event to the media today, specifying that the presentation would take place April 2 at 1:30 p.m. Among the NBC executives expected to be present are Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and Universal Studios; Mike Pilot, president of NBC Universal Sales and Marketing; and Marianne Gambelli, president of Network Ad Sales.

NBC Universal had said previously that it would unveil a 52-week schedule (rather than fall programming only) and then hold individual meetings with ad buyers and marketers. On May 12, the company will hold an upfront presentation that spotlights ad opportunities across many different media assets.

Lack of new programming
Media buyers already expect very little new programming to be introduced for the fall, or, at least, for the first eight to ten weeks of the fall season. While NBC has already renewed such programs as "Chuck" and said it will bring back "Heroes" for the 2008-09 season, the recent writers strike has crimped pilot development for most networks. That dynamic leaves many of them with very little to offer in the way of new series for September.

NBC took in about $4.98 billion in ad dollars in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence, down from the approximately $6.02 billion it captured in 2006. NBC has struggled in recent years to come up with hits comparable to former powerhouses such as "Friends" and "Frasier." As such, its ratings have declined and it has had a harder time in recent upfronts securing increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, a common measure in TV-advertising negotiations. NBC took in about $1.9 billion between September 2007 and the end of December 2007, TNS Media Intelligence said.
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