So much for that experiment. After premiering to NBC’s lowest 10 p.m. ratings in seventeen years, the supposedly groundbreaking internet-to-primetime series quarterlife has been pulled from NBC’s schedule. It will reportedly finish its run on NBC Universal’s Bravo cable network.
“It never should have been a network show,” said co-creator Marshall Herskovitz at a Harvard Business School conference Wednesday. “It’s too specific … from the first three minutes, I knew it wasn’t right.” That’s certainly a different tune than the one he was singing back in November, when he and NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman described the deal as a “revolutionary step” in the creation of television entertainment.
On Thursday, Herskovitz attempted to clarify his statement. “We’re deeply grateful for NBC’s efforts to make quarterlife a success on network television,” he said. “However, I’ve always had concerns about whether quarterlife was the kind of show that could pull in the big numbers necessary to succeed on a major broadcast network. … We live in a media world today where many shows are considered successful on cable networks with audiences that are a fraction of those on the Big Four. I’m confident that quarterlife will find the right home on television as well.”
According to Silverman, the quarterlife experiment was “so worth the try” despite its disappointing performance. “The Web site traffic went up a huge amount and we continue to try new things and new models,” he said. “It’s very inexpensive but we hoped for higher ratings.”