April 26, 2012


>The most recent Promo Watch numbers are based on prime time broadcast network programming between April 18 and April 24, with about 8 hours of programming sampled for each network over that period.  (Click “read more” to see the latest chart.)

CBS.  In a very unusual move for The Eye, CBS is pushing an on-air promotion priority at saturation levels.  The Hawaii Five-O/ NCIS: Los Angeles crossover event starts Monday at 10/9C on Five-O and pays off Tuesday at 9/8C on NCIS: LA (two teams of law enforcement officers — none of whom works for the Centers for Disease Control — battle a possible pandemic).  This stunt is being promoted on CBS at a rate of 51 seconds per hour, a level of support normally seen only on ABC or NBC (which has fewer eyeballs watching each promo).  In addition, CBS is using very long-length spots (often full-minute promos) to get the word out on this.  These sweep stunts often work, and they have the benefit of potentially helping two shows and two nights at once.            

NBC.  The Peacock has doubled down on The Voice, increasing its promotional support to 31 seconds per hour in an effort to turn around the important show’s sagging ratings.  America’s Got Talent (at 17 seconds per hour) has about the same level of support as last week.  NBC’s May Sweep kicks off tonight with a special live 30 Rock episode.  Curiously, this sweep stunt is averaging only 7 seconds per hour over the past week (not enough to make the chart below), less than Fashion Star (11 seconds) and Grimm (10 seconds).         
ABC & FOX.  Pretty routine on-air promo priorities over the past week for ABC and FOX, supporting their major series with very little special Sweep stunt activity.  One thing to look for over this coming week: Duets on ABC.  The past few days, the number of promos for Duets has started to increase.  Not enough to make our 10 second per hour threshold for the table below, but if the rate over the last few days holds it will easily make the chart next week.  More significantly, ABC is spending the time and money to do a custom campaign for the summer singing competition show: a 30-second (kind of lame) homage to the Apple MacIntosh “1984” commercial aired last night.  You know, ABC and Duets will save us from a future of dull copycat singing shows.  By bringing us another signing show in which the celebrity judges/mentors sing, too!         

                          PROMO WATCH

                    Top Priorities by Network
              On-Air Promo Seconds per Hour Sampled
                  Past Week (April 18-24, 2011)
                Shows Receiving 10+ seconds/hour
      ABC                          CBS
     Revenge            22        Hawaii 5-0/NCIS LA 51
     Private Practice   20        Amazing Race       22
     Grey’s Anatomy     19        Person of Interest 21
     Scandal            18        Good Wife          19
     Hallmark Hall Fame 14        NYC 22             17
     Don’t Trust the B  11        Big Bang Theory    15
                                  Survivor           15
                                  Mentalist          12

     NBC                          FOX
     The Voice          31        Glee               25
     Smash              19        Touch              19
     America Got Talent 17        New Girl           18
     Fashion Star       11        Bones              11
     Grimm              10        American Idol      10


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."