NBC executives may now be wishing they had not renewed Smash, the only new scripted series that debuted midseason on the network that was not a total flop. (The other midseason entries were Awake, The Firm, Best Friends Forever and Bent .) Adweek has observed that the network posted an operating cash flow loss of $10 million during the first quarter (versus a gain of $20 million for the same quarter a year ago) due to its investment in those midseason programs and their associated marketing costs. But Smash could extend those losses into next season if ratings don't improve, the trade publication suggests. Because of the lavish production numbers in the show, the cost per episode may be as much as $4 million, AdWeek observes. And while that expense may have been justified last March, when the series was renewed while it was averaging 7.7 million viewers and a 2.6 rating among the 18-49 age group, that may no longer be the case currently, with total audience figures down 31 percent to 5.34 million as of last Monday and the rating among younger viewers down by the same percentage to a 1.8.

04/05/2012