Left Coast Bias: NBC Could Use 'Lipstick'

Given the state of its primetime, NBC should reconsider letting Lipstick Jungle go
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When you write a column every week, much less do so for the brand for which you are Editor-in-Chief, you inevitably hear the same phrase, or some variation of such, rather often from readers, friends or whomever comes across your weekly drivel.

The words are something to the effect of: “You have no idea what you are talking about,” sometimes with the added bonus of a colorful expletive or two, some more descriptive (or angry) than others.

So perhaps due to self-fulfilling prophecy, this week I am indeed going to write about something of which I truly have no idea: a show on NBC called Lipstick Jungle. At least it was on NBC. Thus the point of this week's column.

Either I have spoken to every single woman who has ever watched this show, or NBC is making yet another boneheaded move in not finding some way (like a partnership with another network such as Oxygen) to keep this thing on the air.

I have never seen an episode of Lipstick Jungle. In fact, it would take a pretty good-size gun to get me to do so. I can't for the life of me tell you what the show is about, but I'm guessing the female leads all try to juggle jobs with man troubles and have a lot of fancy drinks together that they try not to spill on their $1,000 shoes.

It launched last midseason at the same time as its twin sister, ABC's Cashmere Mafia, and I can't for the life of me tell you what that one was about, either—but I'm guessing the female leads all tried to juggle jobs with man troubles and had a lot of fancy drinks together that they tried not to spill on their $1,000 shoes.

Anyway, it turns out that Cashmere Mafia couldn't make ABC's estrogen-loaded lineup for a second season, while Lipstick Jungle found another year on NBC's powerhouse primetime.

The series did get a second season, but it didn't take long for NBC to banish it to Friday nights. And getting banished to Friday nights on NBC is basically like getting benched by the Detroit Lions, which just became the first NFL team ever to lose all 16 of its regular-season games.

NBC was scheduled to air the final episode last Friday, and while the network says the show is not cancelled, it's also not coming back anytime soon as of now.

But here's the thing about Lipstick Jungle: I keep hearing women saying how good a show it is. Seriously, I just keep hearing about it. And that word has come from multiple sources in multiple time zones.

When you hear something is great from people in Los Angeles or New York, it doesn't mean much, because chances are it may not be playing in the flyover states, the ones that are responsible for Jay Leno besting David Letterman and Two and a Half Men hammering 30 Rock.

But when I went home to the great state of Minnesota over the holidays, I kept hearing about it there, too. And we know our television in Minnesota. Hell, if we like your show enough, we give you a Senate seat after we count the votes a few times.

I know the Lipstick Jungle ratings weren't exactly yeasty (to quote Claudia Jean “C.J.” Cregg, the indomitable West Wing press secretary), but given the fact that NBC's entertainment division is so on fire that they just waved the white flag at 10 p.m., I objectively have to wonder if they shouldn't find a way to try to grow this thing.

Maybe you can't make the budgets work on the network alone, but partnerships are all the rage these days and NBC has a little network called Oxygen that might make some sense for this.

So again, I've never seen a minute of the show and am thankful for that. But it seems like it must have gotten better as it went on. Given NBC's current state, anything that people actually like is probably worth another look.

E-mail comments to ben.grossman@reedbusiness.com

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