CW sticks with the young demo

katy perryThe CW network, the jointly owned venture of CBS and Warner Bros, was the last of the broadcasters to host its annual unveiling of new prime-time programming — otherwise known as the upfronts.  Judging from its programming schedule and slate of celebrity appearances, the folks at CW aren’t changing the formula of chasing young viewers.

Katy Perry was on hand at 11:00  this morning to kick off the program with two of her songs, “Hot N Cold” and “California Gurls” — which is going to be the CW anthem for its summer marketing campaign. Maybe it was the hour or the demographic, but audience members, many of whom were potential advertisers, sat during Perry’s performance. This  prompted her to admonish, “Is it too early for you to stand up on your feet and have some *!#$-ing  fun?” And then:  “Put your mother *!#$ hands up!”

With that, it was on the scheduling!

The CW introduced two new series. “Hellcats” is set to air on Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. EST right after “America’s Next Top Model” and stars Aly Michalka as  a pre-law student at a university located somewhere in the South. She lost her scholarship and turns to cheerleading when she learns the squad offers financial help. Ashley Tisdale of “High School Musical” is also in the show.

The other new show, “Nikita,” features the action film star Maggie Q who plays a former spy assassin for the U.S. who is trying to bring the secret organization down. Lots of scenes with Q fighting off various enemies in lingerie and bikinis — at least judging by the clip.

The network is also introducing two new reality shows, one airing this summer called “Plain Jane” about a stylist who goes around making over young women.  Midsummer, the CW will roll out something tentatively called “Shedding for the Wedding” that pits 10 overweight couples against each other to compete for the “wedding of their dreams.”

Post Super Bowl: Ads, ads and more ads

It’s tempting, as a media reporter, to become incredibly cynical as the Super Bowl rolls around each February. Endless pitches, endless studies, endless clips sent by public relations departments in the days leading up the the game.

Here’s the thing though: Advertisers aren’t dummies. The $3 million they shell out for Super Bowl ads often pays off. Just think of all the stories that ran before the game in your local newspaper or on your local TV newscast (or here at Or consider the party you attended yesterday — most people probably stayed in front of the TV set during timeouts. Hear much talk about Super Bowl ads today around the water cooler? Thought so.

A ton of polls are out today rating the best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Snickers and Doritos seem to be faring well.  Focus on the Family? Ahhh, that ad didn’t seem to knock anybody’s socks off. Then again, it didn’t have to. Do a Google News search and look at how much was written about the group’s advertisement long before it aired. That’s good marketing.

No Super Bowl blues; expect big TV ratings

colts1The U.S. economy might be weak, but the Super Bowl still scores with consumers.

The CBS broadcast of the National Football League’s championship game on Feb. 7 between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints should draw strong TV ratings, possibly challenging viewer levels not seen since the late 1990s.

“We’re looking at a big rating,” said Neal Pilson, former CBS Sports president and head of his own sports consulting firm. “The fact that the two conference championships got better than usual ratings usually indicates that there’s a lot of public interest.”

The NFC Championship game between New Orleans and the Minnesota Vikings drew 57.9 million viewers, ranking it as the most watched conference championship game since the 1981 contest between Dallas and San Francisco that featured “The Catch.” It was also the most heavily watched TV program, excluding Super Bowls, since the 1998 “Seinfeld” finale.

from Shop Talk:

Auto show-Super Bowl TV ads don’t score for Mazda

nfl1Advertising during the Super Bowl doesn't score for Mazda.

While the Japanese automaker plans to boost its marketing budget this year as it launches the Mazda 2 small car, running TV ads during the National Football League's championship game in February won't happen.

"You're never going to see us on Super Bowl," Mazda North American chief Jim O'Sullivan said at the Detroit auto show. "We're not going to spend that kind of money on that kind of property because, yeah, you get a lot of impressions and stuff out there, but the fact of the matter is, do you really get to the target you really wanted? That's more of a feel-good ad for a lot of people."

O'Sullivan said it was a "given" that Mazda's media budget will be up in the first quarter, as well as for the year, although he didn't say by how much. He said Mazda, which expects its U.S. sales to possibly rise faster than the overall market this year, will spend more on social media and digital advertising this year as it tries to reach younger buyers for its late summer launch of the new 2 model.

Comcast’s Fancast tries TV ads to catch Hulu’s coat tails

When most Americans think of where to catch up with episodes of their favorite TV shows on the Web, they more than likely think of Hulu, the online video site owned by NBC, News Corp and Disney that offers free viewing of TV broadcast shows and archive movies. Second to Hulu would probably be YouTube.But not Fancast. Despite being owned by the largest U.S. cable TV operator Comcast, it doesn’t even make the top 10 video sites in the U.S., according to comScore data. (Hulu is No. 5). One of the ways Hulu became better known was by launching a national TV advertising campaign which kicked off during this year’s Super Bowl TV extravaganza. Hulu’s user numbers jumped after those ads — and Fancast hopes for a similar boost.Fancast has dubbed its debut TV campaign “See It For Yourself” and will feature a series of five spots with recaps of shows including CSI Miami, Glee, NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and Gilligan’s Island. Three TV spots will debut on CBS and also on targeted national cable networks. See the Fancast/CSI ad here: The campaign also features an online push and an outdoor drive with interactive bus shelters around the San Francisco area.In truth, beating Hulu might not be Comcast’s biggest prize. It’s more likely to have its eye on its On Demand Online /TV Everywhere initiatives, which aim to make popular cable shows available on demand to paying subscribers. Fancast will be one of Comcast’s key platforms for that new service when it fully rolls out so building awareness of the site now is important.(Photo: CSI Miami’s David Caruso/Reuters)

The fall TV season, beyond Jay Leno

What’s that? Jay Leno is moving to prime-time? You don’t say!

Frankly, it’s hard to remember the last time there was such hubbub about a TV show. It was, after all, the cover story in Time magazine. Not to be outdone, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP, and probably every local news outlet between New York and Hollywood had a story about the talk show host — more often than not raising the question of whether he’s going to save network TV.

(You’ve got to give it to the public-relations machine on this one. They really worked the story. Of course, their spinning was augmented by a huge marketing effort. Stuart Elliott of the New York Times today estimated that NBC put out more than $10 million in promoting the show).

But there is more to the fall TV season than Jay Leno. The media buyers and planners over at  RPA offer a useful road map to the season in a recent report.

CBS and Pepsi bring you video ads — in your magazine

CBS and Pepsi have teamed up to roll out the first ever video advertising in a print magazine next month. It will appear in the September 18th edition of Entertainment Weekly.

The mini video screen is packaged into an fixed magazine insert in the middle of the magazine. But only magazine subscribers in New York and Los Angeles will be able to see the video ads in their magazines.

The campaign, which is backed by the Pepsi Max brand, aims to promote CBS’s Monday night comedy lineup and new dramas. The ad uses video-in-print technology developed by Americhip, and features five different clips totaling 40 minutes.

Good days for cable TV

A year ago, the big story around Emmy nominations was the acclaim showered on cable programs like “Mad Men” and “Damages.” A quick glance at today’s nominations indicates little has changed.

Just look at the best drama category, where Fox’s “House” and ABC’s “Lost” will face stiff competition from cable’s “Big Love” (HBO), “Mad Men” (AMC), “Damages” (FX), and “Breaking Bad” (AMC).

While the Emmy awards aren’t everything — ratings are still the holy grail — they certainly don’t hurt. Particularly when it comes to cable networks, which have built a reputation for developing more sophisticated, bolder programs than the broadcast counterparts.

CBS upfront: Simon Baker, Jennifer Love Hewitt and L.L. Cool J

CBS made very few changes to its fall prime-time schedule, adding just one new comedy and three new dramas. Executives at the network contend that the lineup doesn’t need a makeover, given that it’s the only one to show an increase in audience ratings this season. Fair enough.

Still, even with just a handful of new shows to preview, CBS managed to keep the upfront presentation from being too dull. Some laughs, some cringing.

    Chief Executive Les Moonves played up the network’s ratings for 2008-09 and took mock offense at an L.A. Times story that pointed out that CBS isn’t the sexiest of networks. “Who says we’re not sexy. My wife thinks I’m sexy — or at least that’s what she tells me.” Crowd liked it. Crowd also liked Simon Baker, star of “The Mentalist.” Two female advertising executives sitting in front of me couldn’t get enough of him, snapping pictures with their phones etc. “I know what you’re thinking,” Baker offered. “Yes, I’m a little shorter in real life.” Laurence Fishburne reminded everyone that he’d been on CBS a couple of times before his current stint on “CSI.” One of those occassions? Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Sweet. Neil Patrick Harris took a page from his show, “How I Met Your Mother,” and offered a few of his character’s tips from “The Bro Code” for advertisers heading to upfront parties. Among some of the gruesome lines: “Article 176 C, if you wake up tomorrow morning in bed with Jennifer Love Hewitt, what happens at the upfronts stays at the upfronts.” “Article 176 D, if you wake up with Morley Safer, see Article 176 C.” “Article 150, a bro never dances with his hands above his head. Ever.” “Article 157, a good way for a bro to get a get in the mood at the CBS party is to suddenly mention the dirtiest sounding CBS shows. These include, but are not limited to ‘The Bing Bang Theory’ and ’69 Minutes.’” L.L. Cool J, who is set to star in NCIS: Los Angeles, actually came out on stage and performed “Mama Said Knock You Out.” You really had to be there. At one point, he urged a thousand or so buttoned-up advertising executives at Carnegie Hall to “Put your hands in the air, stand on your chair!”. Some did. Seriously. I only wish I had a camcorder.

CBS goes for stability in prime-time schedule

Here’s a look at the new CBS schedule, which will be presented to advertisers later today.

(New shows are in bold)






10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI


8:00-9:00 PM NCIS


10:00-11:00 PM THE GOOD WIFE





10:00-11:00 PM CSI: NY


8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR


10:00-11:00 PM THE MENTALIST



9:00-10:00 PM MEDIUM

10:00-11:00 PM NUMB3RS




10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS MYSTERY


7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES


9:00-10:00 PM THREE RIVERS

10:00-11:00 PM COLD CASE