Via Awful Announcing, Sports Media Watch published a list of NBC Sports Network's most-viewed programs for the four weeks ending Dec. 23, and it's grim. Aside from a boxing card and a simulcast of Sunday Night Football (because NBC broke in to show Obama's Newtown speech), no show broke 200,000 viewers.
Other than those two programs, NBCSN's highest-rated shows are constantly hunting and fishing, with December's most-viewed regular program a Sunday morning broadcast of Hunt For Big Fish with Larry Dahlberg, which pulled in 177,000 early risers. By comparison, ESPN2 had 85 broadcasts that same week that drew more viewers.
I know this next statement doesn't sound encouraging to 30 Rock execs, but it should be: NBCSN just doesn't have anything people want to watch yet. That will change, as the network always expected it would take a few years to line up a full slate of programming. 2013 will be a big year for NBC: Formula One begins airing in March, the English Premier League in August, and the NHL could return to televisions as early as later this month. This has been their plan all along: provide a home for the niche sports that ESPN won't touch, but bring strongly devoted fanbases. Whether that's a sound strategy remains to be seen, but it can't be judged by looking at the ratings for Elk Fever.