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NBC Chief Bob Greenblatt Talks ‘SNL,’ ‘This Is Us’ With Chris Hardwick at NAB

Variety logo Variety 4/25/2017 Daniel Holloway
© Provided by Variety

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt credits the digital virality of “Saturday Night Live” in part for the show’s current upswing.

“‘SNL’ is unique this year with the election — we know what happened there,” Greenblatt said Tuesday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. “This show is as relevant as it’s ever been, talking about the political world that we live in. That stuff goes viral and goes crazy every single week [on digital]. And I really think one enhances the other. The ratings have never been stronger and the digital has never been bigger.”

Greenblatt appeared at NAB in a keynote conversation with Chris Hardwick, host of NBC’s “The Wall” and upcoming “The Awesome Show.” The 45-minute conversation focused on NBC’s efforts in digital and social media, touching on key programs such as “SNL,” “This Is Us,” and “The Voice.”

Asserting that NBC has leaned hard into digital and social media as promotional tools, Greenblatt said that shows such as “SNL” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” have benefited from a strategy that sees clips move online shortly after they air.

“People just seek out programming and content,” Greenblatt said. “When they attribute it back to ‘SNL’ or the NBC network, that’s great. We brand it. We promote it as much as we can for that branding. But it doesn’t matter, so long as they seek out those clips.”

Greenblatt also spoke about the decision to air the final three episodes of the current season of “SNL” live in all time zones.

“We thought, why should people on the West Coast wait three hours to hear what people on the East Coast are already going crazy about?” Greenblatt said.

In addition to touting the mobile app for “The Voice,” Greenblatt spoke about “This Is Us,” the top-rated new drama of the season. Buzz began building prior to the season’s start when the network put a trailer for the series online — a trailer that drew more than 100 million views, a level Greenblatt compared to a “Star Wars” trailer.

“It’s almost like people went into a trance,” Greenblatt said. He added, “We just realized that there is a really rabid social community out there. A sharing community of people who go on and post their experiences of being an adopted family. People just really connected with the show.”

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