Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Of the 104 weekend days in 2009, NBC did not air Nightly News on 18 of them (on the East Coast, and perhaps even nationally). Obviously, the NBC executives believe that golf, horse racing, hockey, football and other sports are much more important than the weekend edition of Nightly News. (By more important, of course, I mean more profitable.) The Kentucky Derby (which NBC broadcast on May 2) was a two minute race, yet they allotted it a three-hour block of time. On Aug. 23, the golf match NBC was televising ended before 6:00, but they chose to air an additional half hour of highlights and interviews instead of Nightly News. NBC's commitment to weekend news is so tenuous that they will pre-empt it for virtually any sporting event. An NBC source tells me that in the coming months, NBC will be pre-empting weekend newscasts in order to bring us the U.S. Indoor Tiddlywinks Championships, the National Collegiate Thumb Wrestling Finals, the PBA Underwater Bowling Tour, World Cup Uphill Skiing, the Ironman Backwards Triathlon, Ice Dancing With the Stars, the Sarah Palin Invitational Alaskan Trout Fishing Championships, the Kickball World Cup Finals, the Masters Miniature Golf Tournament, Canadian Junior Curling, Beach Hockey and Penultimate Frisbee. And of course, in a few months, it will be March Madness, so NBC will be airing the sweet sixteen and final four of NCAA Tetherball. Furthermore, if NBC's coverage of the India-Sri Lanka Cricket test match on Saturday, June 5 lasts longer than 19 hours, it will run right into that evening's Nightly News. And that would present the NBC execs with quite a sticky wicket.