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NBC: We got clobbered, but we'll be back

(Posted July 24, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

BEVERLY HILLS - NBC officials, having watched the network slip to fourth place last season after two decades of relative dominance in prime time, tried something new yesterday when assessing its status with the nation's TV reporters - blunt, sometimes harsh honesty.

"Last season for us was kind of like a colonic," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in his opening remarks. "It wasn't a lot of fun to go through at the time, but it'll end up making us healthier in the long run."

He acknowledged the network was slipping not only in the overall ratings, but with the younger audience it has treasured for years ("We're aging up as our shows age up"). About "Joey," the "Friends" spinoff that lost viewers steadily on Thursdays, he said the second-season changes - including Joey's sister going to work for his agent and his nephew moving out of the apartment - will make it funnier.

As for NBC's sudden slip into fourth place, Reilly said, "I can tell you, it's like a weird monkey off the back in a way. Business is cyclical... nobody stays on top all the time."


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