Warren Littlefield
Former President, NBC
03:06

Warren Littlefield: This is the Future of Your TV

Warren Littlefield: This is the Future of Your TV

The more players that want to create original content and finance it the more exciting it is in the world of ideas.

Warren Littlefield

Warren W. Littlefield is an American former television executive. A protégé of Brandon Tartikoff, Littlefield developed Cheers, The Cosby Show, and The Golden Girls as senior and executive vice president of NBC Entertainment under Tartikoff. During his time as president of NBC, Littlefield created hit shows for the network throughout the 1990s such as Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Wings, Blossom, Law & Order, Mad About You, Sisters, Frasier, Friends, ER, Homicide: Life on the Street, Caroline in the City, NewsRadio, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Suddenly Susan, Just Shoot Me!, Will & Grace and The West Wing.

 

Transcript

Warren Littlefield: In Must See TV through the ‘90s, it was an incredible time where one network, one night, for one decade a third of the country watched NBC.  They wanted to be a part of the national conversation or don't go to work the next day.  You’d be left out.  Well, the world’s changed. We were in about a 50-channel universe back then and we tried to distinguish who we were. Today, it’s a 200-channel universe.  Television when you want, what you want, anywhere, everything.

So do people still want to be a part of the conversation?  You bet.  But they have Twitter, they have blogs, they have all kinds of social networking sites where they can reach out, connect instantly.  It’s never going to be 75 million people joining together for that celebration that night.  It’s a different, more competitive world, but the viewer is left with a world of choice, outstanding material on cable television, outstanding material still on network television.  And then, go to the Internet.  Netflix is getting into the game with original programming.  More and more choices for the viewer, that's the winner in this game.

The more players that want to create original content and finance it the more exciting it is in the world of ideas.  I play in the world of ideas.  After being at a network for 20 years, I’m now in the world of trying to pull creative people together, writers and producers, to create content.  So it’s an exciting time, as far as I’m concerned.  I would never bet against Apple. I have Apple TV.  I think that their appetite is significant and I think they will continue to play in more and more ways in how we get information and entertainment into our homes. And Netflix, tremendous service.  They have millions and millions of users.  YouTube, well, there are moments that you can find on YouTube.

But there's a big playground out there, and if you can keep your cost base down and you don't have to live in that old network model, where it’s a million dollars for a 22-minute show, that's a cheap one.  It’s over $3 million for an hour.  It’s not unheard of to hit $4 million for an hour.  Well, there's great content that can be produced for a lot less than that. It needs to be great.  The audience will find great content.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd

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