Around the time of NBC's upfront presentations, Tina Fey was praising Kevin Reilly's championing of her low-rated, critically praised 30 Rock, saying she was lucky her's was one of the handful of shows he feels "personally responsible for."
Now O'Reilly has been shown the exit, and it remains to be seen whether that and Friday Night Lights will find a champion in the new management atop NBC Entertainment.
I like Friday Night Lights, too, but its ratings have been only fair to midling at best, despite attempts to promote it with contests and re-airings and moves to various slots. Of course, now that it is actually on Friday nights, where HUT levels are low anyway, perhaps it can survive on class rather than mass after all.
I applaud Reilly's advocacy of well-crafted and thoughtful or witty shows, a reminder of the touch of Tinker that made that network the gold standard for dramas. But I expect there will utlimately have to be a some tinkering with the NBC schedule to try to get more masses of eyeballs that don't belong to critics.
By John Eggerton