March 21, 2012

The Sked: PROMO WATCH — Update through March 20

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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>The most recent Promo Watch numbers are based on prime time broadcast network programming between March 14 and March 20, with about 8 hours of programming sampled for each network over that period.  (Click “read more” to see the latest chart.)

ABC.  Promotion for Ashley Judd’s Missing is slowly being scaled back as attention to Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal ramps up.  Missing is narrowly clinging to the top spot, with 32 seconds of on-air promotion per hour over the past week (down from 38 seconds per hour over the past two weeks).  Meanwhile Scandal has been promoted with 29 seconds per hour over the past week (up sharply from 20 seconds per hour over the past two weeks).  Similarly, Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23 is also picking up more time, though still at a lower level (now 20 seconds per hour over the past week, up from 16 seconds per hour the past two weeks).  ABC is counting on the Modern Family lead in to stumble into the comedy instead of heavily airing spots for Apt 23, which quite frankly aren’t very funny. 

NBC.  The new comedy Bent (premiering tonight at 9 pm with two episodes) has been NBC’s top priority the past week — but just barely with 25 seconds per hour.  (Fashion Star is a close second at 23 seconds per hour).  As we have seen, NBC has pushed its top priority rate to 45 seconds per hour when it believes in something or wants to will it to success (not that works every time).  25 seconds per hour is a reasonable amount, however, especially considering the show is going to face American Idol in a dead time period with one of the least-watched shows leading into it (Are You There Chelsea?).  And then there are the promos themselves — not exactly laugh-inducing, with the biggest gag being a cat meowing from inside some recently completed drywall.  
CBS.  With the NCAA Basketball Tournament reducing the amount of promo time available to the network (live sports generally have much less promo time per hour than scripted shows and especially unscripted shows), the CBS on-air promotion levels are quite low this week.  NYC 22 is the top priority with only 16 seconds per hour.      

FOXTouch is up to 39 seconds per hour the past week, an enormous number for FOX.  The network is doing all it can — bringing the show back after American Idol Thursday, promoting it heavily, and hoping for the best.     

                          PROMO WATCH

                    Top Priorities by Network
              On-Air Promo Seconds per Hour Sampled
                   Past Week (Mar 14-20, 2011)
      ABC                          CBS
     Missing            32        NYC 22             16
     Scandal            29        CSI                10
     Don’t Trust the B  20        NCIS               10
     Dancing w Stars    17        Survivor            9
     GCB                14        Unforgettable       8
     Once Upon a Time   14

     NBC                          FOX
     Bent               25        Touch              39
     Fashion Star       23        New Girl           17
     Awake              21        Bones              15
     Smash              21        House               9
     The Voice          11        Alcatraz            8


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."