BrandIndex's NBC-TV research in Wall Street Journal article

New Evening Lineup Energizes NBC

Bigger Ratings Provide Momentum, but Ad Buyers Aren't Sure Viewers Will Stay


NBC's evening lineup got a ratings boost in the week after the Winter Olympics, providing much-needed momentum as the network prepares to present potential new TV shows to advertising buyers in a round of meetings this month.

The biggest gains came in the 10 p.m. Eastern time slot, which NBC had scrambled to fill after canceling Jay Leno's poorly performing comedy show early this year, ahead of the Olympics. The network's new shows in that slot include the ensemble drama "Parenthood" and "The Marriage Ref," in which a panel of celebrities weighs in on married couples' everyday tiffs.

On weekdays last week, an average of 8.1 million people watched 10 p.m. shows on NBC, up 57% from the average of about 5.2 million who did so before the Olympics, according to preliminary Nielsen Co. data supplied by NBC.

The network's overall prime-time viewership between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on weeknights was up a more-modest 21%, the data showed...

Meanwhile, it appears that the Olympics may have helped NBC improve more than its Nielsen numbers. BrandIndex, a firm owned by market-researcher YouGov PLC that tracks consumer perceptions of more than 1,100 brands, said that in February the "buzz" surrounding NBC improved most of any brand it tracks. It shifted from a negative view to a slightly positive one. But NBC's overall positive rating still trails somewhat behind those of CBS, News Corp.'s Fox and Walt Disney's ABC.