, the chief executive of NBC Universal, said Tuesday the broadcaster was moving to save as much as $50 million a year by reducing its reliance on expensive pilots of new series on the NBC television channel.
The decision to eliminate most pilots was made as the company looked for ways to cut costs in response to the Hollywood writers' strike and the slowdown in the economy, Mr. Zucker said. "It's clear we are in a recession in the United States, and we're going to have to manage our business accordingly," he said.
Networks like NBC have long relied on big-budget pilot episodes of television series in an effort to attract advertiser support for the rest of the season. But Mr. Zucker said the pilots, the first episode of a show and whose production cost has shot up to $7 million for an hour from about $3 million three years ago, were a poor indicator of the future success of a series and many never move beyond the pilot stage.
"So you're spending money on programs you're not going to get," Mr. Zucker said.