Greenblatt came into the Television Critics Association summer press tour panel with plenty to boast about: NBC, No. 4 when he came to the network in 2011, finished last season No. 1 in the key 18-49 demographic. It is also second in total viewers.
He was also nursing some disappointment: NBC was shut out of Thursday’s Emmy nominations in the major categories, except for Amy Poehler‘s best actress in a comedy nomination for “Parks and Recreation.” One reporter asked Greenblatt if he thought the Emmys should introduce a category for shows that air more than 20 episodes a season, since broadcasters tend to air twice as many shows each season as their cable counterparts.
“I don’t know. I’m not going to grouse about the Emmys,” Greenblatt said. “When we get nominations that’s great. When we don’t, that’s upsetting … I don’t think we change the rules to try to advantage us some way.”
Among the shows the Emmys snubbed was “Hannibal,” a series with cable panache and good reviews to match. But it hasn’t earned strong ratings, and its graphic portrayals of elaborate murders may be one reason why.
“‘Hannibal’ is, and I think most people in this room would agree, one of the best shows we have creatively and one of the best-reviewed shows this network has had since I’ve been here, and we still struggle to find an audience for it,” Greenblatt said.
“It’s great, we’re keeping it going,” he added. “The minute you try to do something that is dark and subversive and frightening and gets into that territory, you start to peel away the mass audience.”
“And they just pitched the next season and it blew us away,” added NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke.
The two also talked about their upcoming Bill Cosby comedy. The show will feature the former “Cosby Show” star sharing advice with his daughers and grandchildren. They said it will be produced by Sony and created by Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley. O’Malley may also act on the show.