In a dramatic slide, NBC will probably be down $1 billion when it winds up the upfront market in the coming days.
Pricing is so soft that the network is holding back a big chunk of ad inventory from its annual preseason sale of prime time spots to advertisers.
In the past the network has sold more than 80% of the ads in its prime time programming to advertisers in advance of the season.
This year , however, NBC may sell as little as 70%, deciding to hold back the extra 10% for the scatter market, hoping that the economy or NBC's ratings will let it fetch more money for the ads.
Last year, when NBC was still the number-one network, the broadcaster booked $2.9 billion in upfront sales.
But with ratings down 17% and the CPMs (cost per thousand viewers) it charges advertisers down 3%, the network will now probably only fetch $1.9 billion.