Of this season’s four new shows, Jericho and Shark are “absolute keepers” and The Class is still on the fence, the CBS CEO says. He also takes a jab at non-believers in network TV (NBC?), and says Super Bowl spots are “selling briskly” at more than $2.5 million per.
On a conference call to discuss CBS third quarter earning this morning, a securities analyst suggested that CBS’s slate of four new primetime shows this fall was a bust.
Not so, said CBS CEO and chief programmer Les Moonves.
“I have two shows that I am extremely pleased with,” he said. “Jericho improved the time period, Wednesdays at 8 o’clock by 27%. Now, to me that is a pretty good number. And Shark is doing extremely well Thursday night at 10. So, those two are absolute keepers.”
Moonves conceded that Smith was a bust, but noted that the drama got booted from the schedule after three weeks. Still on the bubble is the fourth new show, the sitcom The Class, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. “We don’t know the eventual fate of that show,” he said.
“So as far as I am concerned, I have 21 of our 22 hours working, maybe 20 1/2 if you say The Class in on the fence,” Mooves said. “I feel we are as solid as any other network.
“There are two hits—[NBC’s] Heroes and [ABC’s] Ugly Betty and right below that is Jericho,” he said. So we are very pleased with how we started the new season.”
Because the CBS primetime schedule is “solid,” Moonves said, CBS will not have to pour more money into primetime development. “As we look to next May, there is very little that we are going to need.”
Moonves said he was “very pleased” with the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, even though the show has fallen back into third place among the three broadcast network evening newscasts.
The newscast has come “down to earth” since its big debut on Sept. 5, he said. But the viewership among adults 25-54 is up 24% from last year, and that translates into “millions more in advertising dollars,” he said.
He also said that the Couric newscast is the only evening news with higher ratings this season than last.
Turning to football, Moonves said that Super Bowl ads are “selling briskly” at rates “north of $2.5 million per 30 seconds.”
Moonves not only expressed confidence in the CBS, but in all the broadcast networks in clear contrast with the second-thoughts that GE and its NBC seem to be having.
“It’s not just CBS who is doing well,” he said. “Looking at the Big Four networks, year-over-year viewers are up 7%, 25-54 is up, 18-49 is up,” he said. “Once again the death of network TV has been greatly exaggerated, even by some of the other networks.”