The Fall Of the Peacock


NBC used to use the slogan "Proud as a Peacock."

But when it comes to its news division, the Peacock has been plucked. 

The Hill writes that NBC News was for years the network juggernaut that raked in the ratings and the cash. It was also widely respected for its journalism standards. Now, the once-respected news organization is wobbling after months of self-inflicted blunders. The missteps include personnel disasters and questionable news judgments. These preventable gaffes suggest a news hierarchy at NBC that has lost its compass, operating as a misguided corporate bureaucracy and not as a journalistic service to the nation.

NBC is now fading as ABC’s “World News Tonight” with David Muir has overtaken NBC’s Lester Holt for five consecutive quarters. NBC’s “Today” show now also trails ABC, and has lost sixteen percent of its younger demographic viewers in just the last year.

Lester Holt at first seemed to thrive in the NBC anchor chair he inherited three years ago from Brian Williams, who got launched for telling tall tales. Holt seemed overmatched, however, in his moderating of a 2016 campaign debate between Trump and Clinton. His puffy report from North Korea earlier this year in advance of the Olympics was poorly developed and came off as North Korean propaganda. NBC acknowledged that North Korean censors organized the itinerary and controlled the visuals. 

NBC is blowing over $20 million a year on the fizzling former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. She has failed to gather momentum with her morning broadcast, and her highly promoted prime-time news magazine has gone missing in action. Kelly’s dismal ratings are now believed to be a drag on the mid-morning chat show of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. NBC brass failed to deduce that an FNC prime-time firebrand could not segue to a morning, less politicized audience.

Fox Business Network has now surpassed CNBC in business day-ratings for seven straight quarters, and has shown double-digit audience growth in the last year. There was a time when CNBC’s dominance in business news was assumed insurmountable.

If you ask us here at FTVLive, NBC seems to be sitting back and watching Rome burn. Kelly needs to be jettison from the network ASAP. NBC News needs to get back to telling the stories that matter and CNBC needs to put its focus back on business. 

I know Andy Lack came back to NBC with great fanfare, but it appears that NBC is lacking when it comes to their news division and if they don't act fast, they are going to find themselves so far behind ABC News, it will take decades to catch up.