Friday, June 26, 2009

CBS gearing up to battle Jay Leno in the fall

In the grand tradition of clever acronyms like "(The Man from) U.N.C.L.E." and CAN-SPAM, it's time for... Project L.E.N.O.! Variety is reporting that CBS is launching a new marketing plan, dubbed L.E.N.O. for "Late prime Enhanced News Opportunity," although you'd think that would make it "LPENO." Never mind that, though -- let's find out what this exciting new initiative entails:

Eye marketing execs have decided to go a step further and put together a 10 p.m. "tool kit" for stations to promote the hour, include sponsorable broadcast spots, Web banners and radio spots, as well as behind-the-scenes vignettes... According to CBS marketing chief George Schweitzer, the net will use all its fall co-op money -- the marketing partnership with stations, in which [affiliates] pay half and the network pays half -- in order to promote 10 p.m. series.
Those 10 o'clock shows include "CSI: Miami," "The Good Wife," "CSI: NY," "The Mentalist" (which is moving to a new, later time slot), and "Numbers." The benefit for affiliates could be higher ratings (and bigger advertising dollars) for their 11 PM local news shows.

Schweitzer -- that kidder! -- joked that it was coincidence that the name of the initiative just happened to share the same name as the talk show host who will be competing with CBS during the 10 PM time slot. "You know us marketing guys, we love acronyms," he said. "The alphabet, after all, is in the public domain."