NBC has failed its Kings  


Jamie French (jamie.french@nbcuni.com),

Tomorrow, when the final episode of Kings airs, it will be considered a failure. Kings endured low ratings, was placed on hiatus, eventually banished to a forgettable Saturday night slot, and then ultimately cancelled. However, these failures are by no means a reflection of the quality of the show, its writers, actors, or even the dedication of its fans. No, the blame lays entirely at the feet of NBC for its poor marketing, inability to recognize quality, and its shortsighted quest to focus on cheap and easily digestible shows. Failing to nurture a prized jewel like Kings is an absolute disgrace and yet completely predictable from a Network that once reigned, but now spirals downward into mediocrity. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Perhaps if the marketing team at NBC watched Mad Men on its sister network, they would realize that the secret to advertising is quality, not quantity. Although there were numerous commercials leading up to the premiere of Kings, they utterly failed in capturing the essence of the show. With a marketing campaign focused on the actual monarchy, and the presidential elections having just concluded, I incorrectly assumed that the show was perhaps a commentary on political systems. I hope you can appreciate my shock when I noticed that the protagonist "David" destroyed a "Goliath" tank in the premiere. After proactive research, I discovered that this show was a modern day interpretation of biblical stories.

Please, in your infinite wisdom, explain why this fact was withheld from potential audiences! What a colossal mistake on NBC's part. In case you haven't noticed, there is a huge portion of this country that is religious and would be interested in such a show. Conversely, the secular elements of the story are still very appealing to people who are less religious (good vs. evil sells, period). A proper marketing campaign that acknowledged the spiritual elements of the show, without being too heavy handed, would have created a built-in audience going into the premiere.

Of course, NBC failed miserably, and yet somehow acted surprised when the ratings were lackluster. And even though many great shows (ever hear of a show called Seinfeld?) have started slowly, Kings was not given a chance to develop. Banished to Saturday nights (after a hiatus), Kings was killed before it was even given a chance.

Sadly, for those of us who were lucky enough to discover this show (essentially on our own), the remaining season has been bittersweet. It's difficult to maintain an interest in a show that you know has no future. I have tried to recommend this show to friends, but they are rightfully hesitant to watch. "Why bother, if it's already cancelled?" is the response I most often get.

And maybe that's for the best. NBC doesn't deserve our patronage. It's becoming painfully clear that NBC is looking for cost-effective programming over quality; short term gains over long term success. Shows such as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Black Donellys may have had flaws, but also had potential. However, because they cost more than reality-trash, they were prematurely cancelled. The lack of quality dramas on NBC's schedule has left a black hole in programming, which will now be filled by Jay Leno(!) I will grant you this, NBC has finally found a way to make Jay funny because this decision is beyond comical. This farce is going to be a failure of epic proportions, and I will take great pleasure in watching the advertisers abandon your network.

The days of people passively consuming "entertainment" are short numbered. The advantage of being a Network that gets automatically beamed into people's homes is declining. People will find a way to seek out quality through DVRs, online streaming, niche blogs and websites, and other forms of New Media. NBC is a dinosaur, and playing to the lowest common denominator will eventually prove fatal.

Shame on you for failing to nurture Kings.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 at Friday, July 24, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



Arrested Development!! Deadwood!!

July 31, 2009 at 6:17 PM

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