NBC’s Repurposing 'Revelation’

In an effort to promote and build awareness for its original shows, NBC and its cable siblings have employed an aggressive repurposing strategy.

The most recent example: a six-week repurposing run behind the Peacock’s Revelations on Bravo. But NBC Universal executives say that more NBC shows are expected to gain exposure on USA Network, Bravo, CNBC and Sci Fi Channel in the near future. Moreover, NBC could be home to more encore plays for shows that originate on the cable networks.

Bravo has been repeating each new Wednesday night episode of the Bible-tinged show several times each week since Revelations bowed April 13. Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick said Revelations fits the network’s brand message of providing high-quality dramatic programming.

Through May 1, Bravo’s Revelations repeats averaged slightly below a 0.3 household rating.

“Our expectation is that it will improve the time period rating within our target adult 25-to-54 demo,” she said.

Revelations isn’t the first NBC show to reair on one of its sister cable networks. Shows like The Apprentice, The Contender, The Office and The Biggest Loser have all had one or more episodes repurposed on either USA, Sci Fi, Bravo or CNBC over the past year.

NBC Universal cable president Jeff Gaspin said the broadcast network is pursuing a bifurcated repurposing strategy of promoting the broadcast series on cable, while looking to increase time-period ratings for the networks that repurpose the shows.

“We go to all our nets and say we’d like you to run the first two episodes of the series to help get it launched,” Gaspin said. “On a repurposing basis, if a network is interested, then they have the opportunity to repurpose it.”

The parallel objectives certainly were at play for Revelations. Prior to Bravo’s commitment to repurpose all the episodes, the skein’s April 13 premiere also aired on USA, Sci Fi and CNBC.

And the promotional efforts work both ways: NBC aired Sci Fi’s Battlestar Galactica miniseries, before original episodic installments made their cable debut in January. Also, Sci Fi aired three episodes of Bravo’s Project Greenlight.

Gaspin said NBC Universal is not approaching advertisers about cross-network purchasing opportunities with the repurposed runs. But from NBC’s perspective, he says the effort builds momentum and awareness of a new show among viewers without cannibalizing or pulling viewers away from the network.

At this point, though, the jury is still out on the ratings impact on Revelations. The limited series’ April 27 episode scored a 6.3 national household rating, after registering an 7.8 the prior week. The show generated a 10.1 in its April 13 debut.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.