April 17, 2012

The Sked: PROMO WATCH — Starting to Prepare for the Summer

>The most recent Promo Watch numbers are based on prime time broadcast network programming between April 10 and April 16, with about 8 hours of programming sampled for each network over that period.  (Click “read more” to see the latest chart.)

CBS.  Freshman police drama NYC 22 became the #1 CBS on-air promotion priority over the past week, averaging 23 seconds per hour.  Although 23 seconds pales in comparison to recent last-minute pushes for ABC and NBC launches (over 60 seconds per hour has not been uncommon), it is a significant commitment for CBS, which spreads its promotion time relatively equally across the entire schedule.  Given the very soft premiere of a show that was neither groundbreaking or that good, this was probably the right amount of time to devote.          

ABCScandal has been scaled back to 23 seconds per hour, as the critical three- to five-week new-show sampling period continues. Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23 topped out at 28 seconds per hour in this recent week leading up to its premiere, but don’t discount the significant allocation its lead-in (Modern Family) received over the same period (20 seconds).  In addition, Private Practice (22 seconds per hour) has been given a decent level of support as it prepares to move to Tuesday nights at 10  pm tonight.  With only one brief teaser promo last night, Duets does not make our weekly tracking chart below.  But that summer singing competition show will move up the chart rapidly as we head into May.  (Although much of the audience, clearly exhausted with singing, might not be entirely receptive.) 

NBC.  With the failed launches of Awake, Bent, and Best Friends Forever out of the way, NBC can now focus on its returning schedule.  The Voice was the #1 priority this past week (at a relatively low 21 seconds per hour), although it has to be frustrating to pour promotional support on a show that is rapidly trending down.  What was once a top-rated program each week is now an above-average performer at best.  The Office, NBC’s highest-rated comedy, was given a similar level of support (19 seconds per hour).  On the one hand, the network needs to support the show because its Thursday turns into a black hole without it.  But on the other hand, every promo for the once-great show reminds the audience just how awful it has become in terms of quality.  The wisest investment in promo time this past week on NBC went to America’s Got Talent (18 seconds per hour), which returns in mid-May and is the centerpiece of NBC’s summer schedule before and after the Olympics.  They are certainly just getting started promoting AGT and new judge Howard Stern — it could easily be up to 45 seconds per hour in a few weeks.      
FOXNew Girl is now the priority of the week for FOX (21 seconds per hour), and look for the FOX 25th Anniversary Special to rise rapidly from 11 seconds per hour this past week to around 18 seconds per hour this week leading up to the Sunday night look back at what Rupert Wrought.         

                          PROMO WATCH

                    Top Priorities by Network
              On-Air Promo Seconds per Hour Sampled
                  Past Week (April 10-16, 2011)
                Shows Receiving 10+ seconds/hour
      ABC                          CBS
     Don’t Trust the B  28        NYC 22             23
     Scandal            23        Undercover Boss    15
     Private Practice   22        NCIS               12
     Revenge            22        Survivor           12
     Modern Family      20        Lionel Richie      11
     Castle             12
     Grey’s Anatomy     10

     NBC                          FOX
     The Voice          21        New Girl           21
     The Office         19        Touch              17
     America Got Talent 18        Glee               16
     Best Friends Forev 15        Raising Hope       14
     SVU                14        FOX 25th Annivers  11
     Fashion Star       13        American Idol      10
     Parks & Rec        12
     Smash              11


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."