There was a time when NBC was trying to get its affiliates to hitch their wagon to the Peacock. And why not? The network was soaring in the ratings and regarded as the apex of quality television.
They invited local stations to rechristen themselves as NBC 5, NBC 11, or in this market, NBC 13.
I sat in a lot of meetings where we talked about this and I’ve gotta admit, the idea sounded pretty good. NBC 13 would be bold and simple branding that tied the station with a successful and respected product. Plus NBC 13 had a nice ring to it and would have been made for a clean and elegant logo.
What could possibly go wrong?
A lot of stations went along with this plan, but here in Albany my boss applied the brakes. What if the time came when the NBC Peacock was no longer proud, but a symbol of failure and ineptitude?
Impossible —but he was smarter than us (and he signed the paychecks), so end of conversation. Today nobody would argue that he wasn’t right.
There’s no shortage of analysis of what happened at NBC â€”heck, even Maureen Dowd got in on the actâ€” but this single paragraph from Tim Arango sums it up perfectly:
Today the network is in shambles, brought down not just by the challenges facing broadcast television â€” fragmenting audiences, an advertising downturn â€” but also by a series of executive missteps that have made its prime-time lineup a perennial loser.
No, not the sort of thing you want to be associated with.