NBC giveth and taketh away
By April MacIntyre Oct 20, 2008, 17:26 GMT
Jeff Zucker - The Paley Center for Media Honors NBC\'s Jeff Zucker & Dick Ebersol at its Annual Los Angeles Gala - The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Century City, California © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
NBC is enjoying robust ratings for several shows, including the top rated "Saturday Night Live" which saw the Sarah Palin appearance episode this last Saturday night achieve impressive ratings.
Palin's turn on SNL attracted the NBC show's largest audience since March 1994, when Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was their guest host.
SNL was watched by over 17 million viewers at midnight on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
This made SNL the third highest-rated show of the week in the US, behind Dancing with the Stars and CSI.
Despite the good news in ratings for the Peacock network, a memo to staff members on Friday was penned by NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, who said the company will slash $500 million out of the 2009 budget equating to about 3% of the total budget.
From reporter Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood, Zucker's NBC memo:
We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges, and it is increasingly clear that the worldwide economic slowdown will continue well into next year.
As we have been working on our budgets and planning for 2009, it has become evident that the decline in consumer condience and spending will impact our operations. The leadership team of the company agrees that we must take steps now to prepare for these new economic realities. As a result, all of our business leaders are being asked to cut their spending projections for 2009. We are asking for a reduction of approximately $500 million across the company, which represents about 3% of our overall budget.
While each business leader has flexibility in how to meet this goal, we have asked them to focus on three areas: reductions in promotion expenses; in discretionary spending, such as traven and entertainment and outside consultants; and in staffing costs. We have also asked them to find savings by going through our Sourcing department for all major purchases.
This kind of message is never easy, but it is the right step to make, and the right time to make it. We have no choice but to respond quickly to the external economic forces that are affecting the entire world economy.
We have an incredible portfolio of strong, dynamic, world-class brands across the global media landscape. We ere as well positioned as any media company today; these moves will ensure that we continue to be so.
Thank you for your support.
In a separate announcement, NBCU recently revealed its third quarter profits surged to $645 million representing an overall 10% increase.