Notre Dame's first loss only two weeks into the college football season has left NBC reeling just days before the fall network season is set to kick off.
"We were led to believe Notre Dame would be very good this year," said NBC president Jeff Zucker. "Charlie Weis was going around telling people they'd win 10 games. Their former coach, Lou Holtz, even said they'd go undefeated. I don't know what happened."
NBC will feature former Tonight Showhost Jay Leno's new show every weeknight at 10:00 p.m. this fall. Network executives had hoped to feature a new Notre Dame football game prior to Leno every night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
"We were going to revolutionize network broadcasting and, most important, save NBC a whole bunch of money," said Zucker. "We were going to do away with scripted dramas completely. No originality at all. That was the goal. Only Notre Dame, Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Each night, every night."
But with the shine so quickly and decidedly off of Notre Dame football, NBC is now in a jam.
"I don't have a clue what to do," said Zucker. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to conceive and create compelling, well-written television dramas and comedies? It's hard. Really hard. I have never tried it, but my colleagues at competing networks tell me about it all the time."
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis insists his team is still worthy of a prominent role on NBC.
"I really like the idea of us playing every weeknight," said Weis. "It would take some tweaking to our schedule, but if we are given 75 games this fall, I definitely think we can reach our goal of 10 wins."