The big news in TV this week is that NBC is seriously reconsidering their programming and approach as a network, giving Jay Leno a spot at 10:00 pm on the schedule five nights a week. They're also considering a drop in the number of hours they offer programming in prime-time.
The blog Planet All-Star has an open letter to NBC execs with some free advice. He makes some good points - reducing a "season" to thirteen episodes to avoid "padding" of series, having faith in creative talent, and even dropping Saturday and Sunday evening programming. But, I've got a bit of advice of my own.
One of the things that NBC and other networks fail to recognize is that they have a rich library of programming that would be interesting and relevant to viewers today. Think about it - they wouldn't be bringing back "Bionic Woman" or "Night Rider" as new series if the originals weren't fan favorites. So, as an experiment, why not pull shows out of your library on Saturday or Sunday nights for a whole evening each week of "Classic NBC".
The way I'd program it would be to have different shows each week, but program each block in a similar way, perhaps with more family-oriented or daytime shows at 7:00, some kind of drama at 8:00, a couple of sitcoms at 9:00, and a crime drama at 10:00. And I'd go back beyond the 80s to even include a dash of shows from the 50s and early 60s in the mix - for some, it would be nostalgia, for other viewers they'd be surprised at how campy some of the shows would be.
Sure, many of these shows are available on DVD format or even through streaming at various sites. But, for the casual viewer, looking to be entertained, they could tune in just for the convenience of having a block of old shows programmed for them. Heck, it would be cheap and probably do better in the ratings than offerings from the other networks.