This article appeared on the March 15 nytimes.com site as part of its "Media Decoder" column (http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/nbc-news-stays-on-top-while-its-newsmagazine-struggles/). It needs no further commentary or embellishment (thanks to Twitter user @lcb998502 for bringing it to my attention):
NBC News Stays on Top, While Its Newsmagazine Struggles
by BILL CARTER
"NBC News celebrated its status as the top news division in television with a presentation for advertisers Thursday in New York, led by Brian Williams, the anchor of its top-rated evening newscast.
But NBC News and Mr. Williams have little to celebrate in the performance of the newsmagazine introduced earlier this season, 'Rock Center With Brian Williams.'
The program’s weak ratings took a turn for the worse Wednesday night, when its latest edition attracted only 2.6 million viewers, its lowest result so far. The newsmagazine was the least-watched show on network television last night (other than a repeat of NBC’s 'Law and Order S.V.U.').
Worse than that, 'Rock Center' fell behind entries on nonbroadcast outlets, like Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, which had 2.9 million viewers, and an array of offerings from Univision, including 'Una Familia Con Suerte' (4 million), 'La Que No Podía Amar' (3.9 million) and 'Abismo de Pasión' (3.5 million). Other cable offerings with more viewers on Wednesday included two repeats of 'NCIS' on USA and two repeats of 'The Big Bang Theory' on TBS.
NBC has moved 'Rock Center' multiple times since its first broadcast on Oct. 31. It is now on Wednesdays at 10, which gets its away from the ferocious competition of 'Modern Family' on ABC, 'American Idol' on Fox and 'Criminal Minds' on CBS.
But the show will move back to 9 p.m. in five weeks. At 10 p.m. Wednesday night, 'Rock Center' was a distant third behind 'C.S.I.' on CBS, which had 11.5 million viewers, and an ABC special, 'Revenge for Real,' which had 4.4 million."
Okay--I can't resist one comment: NBC could boost "Rock Center's" ratings by moving it to the ShopNBC channel and renaming it "Shop Center With Brian Williams & Suzanne Somers".