NBC: We Were Stupid To Pull Rocco
May 27, 2004 -- NBC says it screwed up by pulling "The Restaurant" off the air too early.
The series, a follow-up on last summer's hit about restaurant-owner Rocco DiSpirito's travails opening up a new eatery in the Flat Iron district, was yanked after just three episodes earlier this month.
The show had been earning OK-but-not-great ratings in its first few episodes.
"We made a mistake," NBC programming boss Jeff Zucker told reporters yesterday.
"We made too quick of a decision on that," he said "Under some pressure from stations that were not pleased . . . I buckled.
"I regret that I didn't keep 'The Restaurant' on in that time period."
Zucker had reason to be unhappy.
Repeats of "Crossing Jordan" and "Law & Order" actually drew fewer viewers than "The Restaurant" had been averaging.
The show was drawing about 7 million viewers a week on average.
It was a rare admission of error for a network.
The network has rescheduled the final three episodes of "The Restaurant." Two will be broadcast back-to-back this Saturday, and the show's finale will air June 5.
The second batch of episodes of the show chronicles the restaurant's financial woes and Rocco's battles for control with his financial partner, Jeffrey Chodorow.
Oddly enough, the series was yanked off the air the week that Rocco and Jeffrey make a shaky peace — mediated by a group of shrinks who'd come to have dinner at the restaurant. — Post staff writer