NEW YORK - NBC, after being heartened by some long-sought success this past fall, has fallen into a deep midwinter freeze.
The network has badly stumbled recently, hitting its three lowest viewership levels for a traditional television season in the past four weeks, the Nielsen ratings company said. The only exception came the week NBC televised the Pro Bowl.
NBC expected some tough times with the end of the pro football season and its popular Sunday night game. Two other popular shows, the reality singing competition "The Voice" and the sci-fi drama "Revolution," are on hiatus, which network entertainment President Robert Greenblatt noted a month ago in a bid to lower expectations.
"No one is more aware of what January through March will bring than us," he said.
Yet the depth of NBC's recent troubles has to be disheartening. NBC was feeling good about the musical drama "Smash," yet the 4.5 million people who watched its second-season premiere last week represented its smallest audience. The medical drama "Do No Harm" was cancelled after two weeks when it reached a paltry 2.2 million people last week in the time slot NBC once dominated with "ER."