With the new television season looming, the five network chiefs reveal their biggest challenges—and what they do better than Netflix.
Last season was another rough one for the five broadcast networks, as only NBC grew its 18-49 audience from the previous season—thanks to the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics—while the other four continued their ratings slides. But they’ll try again to reverse that trend in the 2018-19 TV season, which starts on Monday, Sept. 24.
During the next several weeks, the five broadcasters will roll out 22 new shows (including CBS’ Murphy Brown and Fox’s Last Man Standing revivals, and ABC’s Roseanne Barr-free Roseanne spin off, The Conners) and 60 returning entertainment series. Adweek sat down with the president at each network to discuss their biggest challenges for the new season, and what broadcast does better than Netflix.
(Editor’s note: The interview with CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl was conducted prior to the Sept. 9 departure of CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, which occurred hours after the publication of a second New Yorker story from Ronan Farrow, in which six additional women leveled new sexual assault and harassment allegations against the mogul. Kahl declined to comment on Moonves’ exit for this story.)
Adweek: What is the biggest way your network has improved this fall?
Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment: I feel like we have some real strength at 10 p.m. across the week, and I’m excited about what we’re doing with all-alternative reality programming on Sunday nights. We haven’t tried that before.
Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment: It’s the same old answer, which is we have some new fall shows that hopefully will break out of the pack. We don’t have that many, but I think they’re very potent.
Kelly Kahl, president, CBS Entertainment: If you look at the inclusiveness of people across our schedule, we’ve made some big strides. We’re not patting ourselves on the back because we still have work to do, but I think we made a good step forward this season.
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