For '30 Rock,' decision time is nearingStruggling NBC comedy is about to go on hiatus
By Diego Vasquez MediaLifeMagazine.com
staff writer Mar 1, 2007
The next two episodes of NBC's 30 Rock could help determine whether the critically beloved but low-rated sitcom will return for a second season.
Rock will go on a six-week hiatus after next week's episode, leaving the Thursday 9:30 p.m. timeslot to the new show Andy Barker, P.I., before returning in April. These two weeks are important because Rock will air against reruns of powerhouse timeslot competitors Grey's Anatomy on ABC and CSI on CBS.
Networks are in pilot mode now, beginning to narrow down which new and returning shows will make their fall schedule. NBC is only expected to pick up one of its freshman series for next fall, either Rock or Friday Night Lights. (A third rookie, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," looks all but dead.) "Rock" and "Lights" have similar season averages, and so NBC will be looking for growth potential when it decides which to bring back.
Airing against original episodes of Grey's and CSI the past month, Rock actually has been shrinking, not growing. When the show took over the Thursday slot in late November, its first three episodes against minimal competition averaged a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating.
Its three most recent episodes have averaged a 2.5, a decline of 14 percent. If it can grow again over its next two outings, that might help convince NBC the show has potential much like The Office, which was renewed two years ago with similarly low ratings.
It doesn't hurt that recently critics seem to have adopted Rock as the new Arrested Development, a similarly smart but low-rated show. Publications from TV Guide to Entertainment Weekly to countless blogs are championing its renewal.
The competition isn't entirely light tonight. Rock will face a new challenge in Fox's smash Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, which had the network's best debut in 18-49s in more than 14 years earlier this week.
In tonight's Rock, guest star LL Cool J plays a hip-hop producer who helps Jack (Alec Baldwin) launch a new line of champagne.http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...icle_10480.asp