September 12, 2011

THE SKED: New Fall Show On-Air Promotion — Update through Sep 11

>With network on-air promotion activity tracked in hit summer shows (those near or above a 2.0 Adult 18-49 rating) for about seven weeks since mid-July, the networks’ promotional priorities are summarized below.

As we head into Premiere Week starting Monday, September 19, NBC has put the vast majority of on-air promotion time in recent days toward Up All Night, which gets an early preview this Wednesday (September 14) at 10:00 pm after the season finale of America’s Got TalentUp All Night is now up to 840 promotional seconds within hit summer programs on NBC, still clearly the #1 new show priority for the network.  Free Agents follows Up All Night on Wednesday at 10:30 and has received only 200 seconds since mid-July.  NBC is obviously hoping Free Agents benefits from a pumped-up lead-in, but comedy at 10:30 has always proved difficult as people rapidly turn off the television and prepare for bed during the 10 pm hour.  Look for a steep drop at 10:30, although the final verdict on both comedies can’t be determined until they have settled into their regular 8:00 and 8:30 pm time periods for several weeks.    

ABC continues to heavily push Revenge (now up to 735 promotional seconds since mid-July).  This kind of massive bombardment can often boost the rating of the first episode, but if the show does not live up to the advertising, the audience declines in weeks two through four can be massive, making all the promotional activity a waste of time.  In fact, regardless of how much marketing support a new show gets, it is wise to not pay undue attention to the premiere telecast.  As noted above, weeks two through four (and sometimes six) provide the best indication of how a show will fare throughout the fall and the entire season, if the new show makes it that far.  

CBS continues to place almost equal bets on Person of Interest and Unforgettable (each with 500-540 promotional seconds).  Please note, the promo totals for each show are not directly comparable across networks because the number of hours measured for each network varies.  (That is, some networks have more hit-level hours than others do.)  Nonetheless, the promo-second counts are indeed comparable within a network’s list of shows.

FOX on-air promotion tallies are unchanged from last week due to DVR error.   


   Fall Series Promos (in seconds)
  In Hit Summer Shows since July 19

FOX      X-Factor            970++

         New Girl            810
         Terra Nova          610

NBC      Up All Night        840++
         Whitney             615+
         Prime Suspect       550 
         Playboy Club        450
         Sing-Off            445+
         Free Agents         200

CBS      Person of Interest  540+
         Unforgettable       500+
         2 Broke Girls       360+
         A Gifted Man        230

         How Be Gentleman    170

ABC      Revenge             735++
         Charlie’s Angels    375
         Suburgatory         360 
         Pan Am              315 
         Once Upon a Time    120 

         Last Man Standing   105

Note: New fall series not listed
have not been promoted in hit summer
shows during this date span.

To see the list of shows in which
promotion activity is tracked, see
the Summer Broadcast Ratings update.  

For reports on all the new network series (and even busted pilots), go to THE SKED PILOT REPORT!

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."