Burke says it’s time for shows to be judged by year-round performance, and viewers 18-49
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke says it’s time for networks to abandon the traditional 35-week September-through-May TV season and to start programming year-round — and being judged by their year-round performance.
He also said networks’ success should be gauged by their viewership in the key 18-49 demographic, no matter how people watch their shows, including on DVR. Every network has struggled to get viewers to watch shows in real time, and Burke said it’s time to acknowledge that that’s not how many people watch television.
“We think that having broadcast be a 35-week season is an anachronism,” he told reporters at a roundtable at NBC headquarters in New York on Monday. “We live in a completely different time now.”
He said reporters should focus on 18-49 viewers, the figure most important to advertisers, rather than total viewers.
“If I were a consumer I’d want to know who won the football game, not who got the most yards,” he said.
Burke said NBC has spoken with other networks and believes they will also adopt a year-round schedule.
Fox chief Kevin Reilly has already called for year-round programming, and this year declared an end to the traditional calendar for greenlighting shows. Fox plans this year to unveil one of its biggest shows, “24: Live Another Day,” in May, and last summer CBS began airing “Under the Dome” in June. NBC is airing six scripted shows this summer, more than any broadcast network in 21 years.