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Football + Office = NBC Fail

February 6, 2009

You know what’s a bad idea, spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to air NFL games, waiting around till the Superbowl when your audience will be the highest it’s ever going to be, and then taking that audience and flushing it down the toilet by using the time right afterward to air new episodes of The Office.

Why So Stupid, Ben Silverman?

The Office is one of those shows with a lot of critical approval but weak viewership. Plus it skews female. The weak viewership was probably why NBC thought introducing the same male viewers who usually tune it to Two and a Half Men would be a smart idea. Except for the part where it’s really stupid.

The Office demographically skews female. Even its male viewers have a limited overlap with the Superbowl audience. And The Office isn’t traditionally funny. It’s funny the way Jason Mraz is a popular musician. You can sit through an episode like Prince Family Paper for 30 minutes and then wonder, “what the hell was that?”

But that’s still not all of it. The Office is old. The post-Superbowl time is a great time to launch a new show, something no network seems to do much anymore. Or bring a new show to people’s attention. The Office is in its 5th season, and it’s showing its age. Even if it manages to drag on for another two years, we’re talking about a show headed for senility pretty fast. Trying to give an aging non-traditional comedy a boost by running it after the Superbowl has probably been done before, but that doesn’t make it any less stupid. In the short term NBC got an audience, in the long term they lost the chance to launch a new series to a large audience. Something I bet FOX would have killed to do for Dollhouse.

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