NBC News managed expectations very well for its new newsmag, “Rock Center With Brian Williams.”
The show attracted 4 million viewers Monday night at 10, getting clobbered by its broadcast competition in all viewers and among key demographic groups.
Days earlier, NBC News President Steve Capus warned that the show would not do well in the ratings.
“We’re not going to sit here and predict for you that we’re going to be a smash hit right out of the starting blocks,” Capus said by way of opening a phone conference call with The Reporters Who Cover Television.
“In fact, I actually think it’s going to be the opposite. We’re not doing this as a ratings play.”
The show opened without the Big Buzz story that does so much to bring viewers to newsmagazine programs. “Rock Center” started with a segment about all the jobs there are to be had in Williston, N.D. — as reported by Harry Smith — and ended with a painful bit in which Jon Stewart visited Williams in his new Man Cave and took questions about trick-or-treating with his kids in Halloween — the night of the show’s debut.