NBC was once the predominant destination for comedy television, especially when it came to sitcoms. It's been quite awhile since their Must See TV heyday, but NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke is steadfast in trying to get the network back to where it needs to be in the genre.
She touched on the matter at a New Voices in Primetime Comedy panel during her time at SeriesFest2 (via THR) by highlighting a few areas where the network went wrong, like prioritizing "more lucrative half-hours" and "a couple of years of over-correction. The comedy brand got a little murky for us,” she said.
Salke now believes the network has a refined focus for their shows, intending them to be “smart, specific, a little sophisticated and not too sweet.” Salke offered an example, the blind dad-centered Growing Up Fisher, which she said contained a "saccharine" quality that they are trying to avoid. She also pledged that "we won’t cancel shows quickly.”
That last one is huge, as NBC has a habit of giving shows the ax before they've truly had a chance to build an audience. NBC's own Seinfeld, which is looked at as an all-time classic sitcom, struggled throughout its first year, and it wasn't until its second year that it truly took off. The same goes for The Office, which also struggled in its initial season.
Many fans felt the same way about their occult detective show Constantine, which got the ax after its first season. Instead of building on positive word of mouth and maybe trying to cross it over with one of DC's CW shows (which has since been accomplished), they just let it go.
All of these changes bode well for NBC's new superhero comedy Powerless, which stars Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, Atlin Mitchell, and Nelson Wong. The show might take a while to find its rhythm and build an audience, but if the show is good, hopefully, NBC will give it some room to grow before adding it to the chopping block.