NBC's Plan for Reviving Must See TV: A Show That Died in 2006 and a Show That Might Kill You


Back in the early ’90s, the ad wizards at NBC came up with a clever way of packaging their most popular Thursday night shows—as well as the shows they wanted to convince viewers would eventually be popular—called “Must See TV.” The name stuck around until the shows that helped defined it—like Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, and Will & Grace—ended their runs in the early aughts.

Over the next 15 years or so, “Must See TV” appeared off and on in the network’s many promotional strategies, but never quite clicked the way it did back in its heyday. But despite those many false restarts, NBC is about to try it again—and this time they have the help of a former anchor, Will & Grace (which may be around for more than just 12 episodes), and their current heavyweight, This Is Us.

Per Adweek, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt announced the plan Monday morning. He called the tentative lineup, which uses This Is Us as a lead-in to Will & Grace and Tina Fey’s new sitcom Good News, “as close to Must See TV as we’ve ever had in our history.”

This is all a big head-scratcher for me. Not because it’s wild that everything old is new again (we should be used to the resurgence of the 90s by now), but because the chairman of NBC Entertainment thinks a show that actively wants to make its audience feel pain is worthy of the same packaging as Seinfeld.

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