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CBS going for late -night originality - late night lineup schedule

CBS going for late -night originality-late night lineup schedule

CBS going for late-night originality
Network plans to air first -run, He said the schedule should be in place in the peal." he said, noting while the basic format
original programing every night next three to four weeks. In the current will be retained, the mix of featured musical
schedule, Monday and Tuesday are pro- groups will be expanded to include oldies
CBS -TV is putting together its late -night gramed with network reruns and movies, from the 1950's and '1960's, as well as con-
schedule for next season, and, according to while Wednesday late night starts off with temporary groups.
Michael Brockman. vice president in charge Adderly, followed by a movie, and Thurs- The bottom line in the upcoming late -
of both late night and daytime at CBS Enter- day begins with Night Heat, followed by a night program changes, said Brockman, is to
tainment, that schedule could contain origi- movie. demonstrate to affiliates that ratings will im-
nal. first-run programing every night of the Last January. the network added a third prove to make the schedule economically
week. original show to its late -night lineup- viable for them to carry. Affiliates receive
For years, CBS counterprogramed the Cruis'n, a musical variety program (with 10% of their station's rate from 1 1:30 p.m. to
other two networks' news and talk shows some comedy) designed to attract the young 2 a.m. in compensation for clearing late
with reruns of old or current one -hour series adult audience on Friday nights. The pro- night. In addition. late night is one of two
and made -for-television movies. But two gram has proved disappointing. although dayparts (the other being early morning)
seasons ago. it introduced a first-run. Cana- CBS has picked it up for 12 more episodes. where affiliates receive a share of inventory
dian -made hour drama called Night Heat The show is due to go on a short hiatus in in the programing itself. In late night, affili-
that ran once a week in the late-night sched- two weeks, and will return April 10, with a ates get close to 50% of the inventory. But
ule. The results encouraged the network to new host, Jimmy Alack, a young comedian some affiliates do not clear the programing
order two additional first -run dramas last seen recently on David Letterman and John- because they can make more money pro-
season, also produced in Canada, Hot Shots ny Carson. Alack replaces Stephen Bishop. graming locally and keeping all of the time
and Adderly. Hot Shots was canceled early The show has averaged about 2.5; Brock- themselves. There is particular pressure on
because the network felt it was not taking man says he would be happier if it climbed to some Midwest stations to do that because
shape creatively. But Adderly's performance the four- or five- rating range after the they lose early fringe to network news and
was satisfactory to the network, and both it changes. "We hope to broaden its adult ap- prime time. D
and Night Heat, each averaging a five rating
or better. have been renewed for next sea-
son. Going one on one over television sports
But despite the rating improvements from
those first-run shows. CBS has been frus-
trated at the less- than-spectacular clearance Representatives of broadcast networks creasing rights fees." Among the reasons:
levels of its late -night lineup. The clearance and cable services offer IRTS Sports TV audiences are not increasing. ad-
problem-on average. the Monday- through- audience predictions on future vertisers are resisting financing "further dra-
Thursday clearance levels average 92 %. of rights fees and over-the -air matic increases" in network rights fees, the
while Friday night clearances are closer to and cable coverage of major events hours of network sports coverage have "pret-
ty well" reached their limit and with "more
80 %- became a major issue in recent dis- A play by play on the future of television broadcast channels available. cable. inde-
cussions of future affiliate compensation sports. including discussion of the current pendent television and so forth. the networks
payments by the network (BROADCASTING. advertising market and National Football have to be clear that they cannot become less
March 9).
It costs much more to produce original League negotiations. was presented during efficient for their national advertising than
programs than to air reruns. although Brock- an International Radio and Television Soci- this growing combination of services that are
man said last week that with production in ety seminar in New York last week by execu- becoming available."
Canada. and creative co-financing of the tives from cable and broadcast television The CBS executive added that what his
shows. there is "not a significant difference" networks, sports and advertising. network is going through now in its NFL
between the late -night budget now. and sev- Neal H. Pilson, CBS Sports and broadcast negotiations, what it went through with the
eral years ago when the schedule was all operations president, began the discussion college football, the summer Olympics, and
reruns and movies. "It's creatively driven, saying that because of a "combination of what he predicted all networks would go
not economically driven," Brockman said of factors," commercial television has stopped through with Major League Baseball when
the network's effort to program late night financing "an ever upward spiral of more its contracts expire in 1989, reflect "the fact
with fresher first-run material. "We are try- revenue through the payment of ever in- that we have get a handle on what's going on
ing to provide as distinctive a service as pos-
sible in late night' for affiliates. he said.
But he does admit the economics of pro-
ducing in Canada. with CBS paying only
one -third the costs of producing the shows.
makes first -run product now on its air ac-
quirable. The producers of the product make
their money by selling the shows to other
markets. For example, Night Heat is seen in
Canada in prime time. Some of the produc-
tion values. are less than what is usually the
norm in prime time in the U.S. Both Night
Heat and Adderly are shot with 16 millime-
ter film. not 35 millimeter.
Brockman said it was premature to dis- Viacom Chairman Ralph Baruch. seminar co- chairman. Werner; Frank: Pilson: Burns. and Warren Boorom. seminar
cuss other first -run projects for late night. co- chairman and executive director of the Advertiser Syndicated Television Association
Broadcasting Mar 16 1987