The crime: attempted murder. The weapon: ratings. The victim: NBC’s critically acclaimed police drama Homicide: Life on the Street. The suspects: Home Improvement, the Michael Jackson-Oprah Winfrey interview, the Grammys, and the American Comedy Awards.
After a top 10 post-Super Bowl debut, Homicide has plummeted in the Nielsens against the killer competition listed above (it’s now ranked 86th for the season). Concerned about the show’s fate, Homicide‘s executive producer Barry Levinson devised an unconventional promotional campaign in which he talked about Homicide‘s bad luck. ”So where are we, exactly?” the ad concluded. ”Well, there’s a show called Home Improvement — and as soon as you get there, then quickly switch to NBC.”
The network has no plans to move Homicide from its deadly Wednesday slot opposite Improvement, and no decision has been made about bringing it back next season. But the producers are hopeful. ”NBC seems to be on our side,” executive producer Tom Fontana says. ”They’re saying all the nice things you want people to say when you’re bleeding in the middle of the street.”