After the first-round of the NFL playoffs there were many different scapegoats to point to. Some would mention how the referees blew the John Runyan personal foul call, which ended up being a real momentum changer. Others might go after the pathetic offensive gameplan the Kansas City Chiefs used. Many would choose Bill Parcells not having someone besides his starting QB hold for kicks. Here is my choice.
Networks buy the NFL as much to drive traffic to their other programming, as they do to try to make money. It could be argued that without the NFL, Fox would never have become a viable competitor to the Big 3. Fox has continually taken advantage of their NFL tie-ins, by promoting male-driven shows like 24, Prison Break, and House. Smart marketing choices to pitch themselves to the pro football fan.
Now let’s go to NBC, who made a big splash back into the NFL world this season by offering a ton of money to be the big show in town. By taking Monday Night Football and switching it over to Sunday night, they have revitalized the idea of the prime time game of the week. They also made the biggest mistake of the playoffs.
At a time when they could count on their biggest viewership, what is the new show that NBC chooses to push? If you guessed a reality show where hopefuls are trying to be part of a new production of an old Broadway show let me sing at the top of my lungs “Girl you are so right!” “Grease: You’re the One that I Want” was the program that NBC decided to promote to its NFL audience.
Without me getting into my opinion if this show will be a success, it was a horrible marketing decision by NBC. I can’t think of a show that the average football fan would find more excruciating to watch than a reality show which features Broadway-style singing and dancing. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars has been smart in its 2 seasons to include a former NFL star like Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. Unless NBC plans to have Tony Siragusa play the part of Danny Zuko, I just don’t see how this show is going to draw more than 2% of the males who were watching the Colts/Chiefs or Cowboys/Seahawks games played Saturday on their network.
Outside of My Friend Earl, the Law Order franchise, and maybe a couple of its other dramas, NBC seems to have turned their back on primetime shows which try to appeal to men who don’t consider themselves urbane (or for that matter even know what urbane means.) Hey, that’s fine, but why would NBC invest this much for the NFL then? Promote Friday Night Lights or Las Vegas, but not some sorry American Idol rip-off. (By the way, American Idol features a few contestants who sing classic rock or country, so they can try to interest more men.)
Now if NBC would have had Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick fight it out in baby oil for the honor to be Sandy in their new reality show, well…then disregard my diatribe.