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How Robert Greenblatt Took NBC From Worst to First

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Michael Morehead
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When he arrived at NBC in early 2011, Robert Greenblatt knew he was inheriting a fourth-place network in dire straits.

But the former Showtime president wasn’t fully prepared for what awaited him.

“It was worse than I thought it was going to be—and I expected it to be bad,” recalls Greenblatt, noting that “all the great shows had come and gone” and “we had no digital or social presence whatsoever.” Still, he was undaunted by the task ahead of him: “I really wanted the job, because I love that kind of challenge.”

–turned around the network from worst in the adults 18-49 demo to first by overhauling every division and methodically rebuilding the lineup, piece by piece: nurturing new hit The Voice (“if The Voice hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I would have ever come out of my own tailspin,” he admits); turning Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire into a four-series franchise; restoring some of the luster to Thursday nights with ; establishing a popular annual tradition of ; launching a family hit with Little Big Shots; and helping the network rediscover its comedy identity with Superstore and The Good Place.

This season, NBC reclaimed the 18-49 lead under his watch thanks to a mix of new and resurgent hits, led by freshman sensation This Is Us, which is Adweek’s Hot List winner for both Show of the Year and Drama of the Year.

“People run around our business saying, ‘Broadcast is dead,’ but then you have 15 million viewers for This Is Us, 15 million viewers for America’s Got Talent and 10 to 12 million viewers for The Voice,” says Greenblatt.

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