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As a consumer of media and news about the media, it’s disconcerting when a voice like former NBC executive Warren Littlefield still carries significant weight. Deadline reported in a fluff piece Friday how Littlefield is rounding up his former colleagues at The Sarnoff Creation to discuss the network’s “worst rating performance ever”.

Yes, the network has been abysmal the last six years. I’m not denying shows like “The Playboy Club” or “The Event” were god-awful or didn’t have enough time to find their groove. But the mindset of Littlefield’s era has become horribly antiquated in the last decade.

To review, Littlefield left NBC in the 2000-01 season. The fact the network was struggling on nights that weren’t Wednesday or Thursday notwithstanding, (some of) the television landscape facets of the time include:

  1. Cable, whose programming output was a fraction of what it is today. Neither AMC nor TNT was producing drama, USA was presenting mostly sci-fi and game shows, and FX’s signature show was “Son of the Beach”. Even HBO was not scheduling the amount of original programming it does now, to say nothing of Starz or Showtime.
  2. Neither Hulu nor Netflix existed. For that matter, network websites only housed information.
  3. DVR was in its infancy, and was more novel than practical.
  4. DVDs hadn’t proliferated. Read the rest of this entry »

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