To each his or her own (screen)


To launch our new fall television programs, every September we conduct a massive media campaign covering every corner of the consumer entertainment universe. Our goal is to make it impossible for people not to notice our shows come premiere week. And when consumer behavior changes, we adapt our methods of reaching them. So while we still pack the biggest punch delivering our messages on television, we also reach people around the edges on every other kind of media they may encounter during the day. Increasingly, that means reaching people via second screens.

Just last month Nielsen reported that 26 percent of U.S. tablet owners simultaneously use their tablets while watching TV several times a day. And a recent Deloitte study showed that half of those who use second-screen devices while watching television use them to talk about what they are watching.

In the weeks and months to come you’ll see a lot of new promotions designed to help viewers engage with our first-screen programming while using second-screen devices — both tablets and mobile phones.

For example, our Fall Preview Show to be broadcast in prime time at 8:30/7:30 CT on Monday, September 10, will offer a synched second-screen experience called “Fall Preview Plus.” We’ve been doing the Fall Preview show for eight years now, and this is the first time we’re offering a complementary second-screen viewing experience for those who just can’t get enough!

The important thing to remember is that the first screen always comes first. We offer the extra bells and whistles to those who seek them on second screens, but the vast majority of our viewers just want to kick it old school with some great TV, and we’re more than happy to oblige them.

Be sure to check out our Fall Preview Show and Fall Preview Plus (if that’s your sort of thing) and as always, stay tuned!

Summertime…and the living is busy

This is when normal people take vacation, but in the network TV marketing business, summer is our most intense period.

From May 16 when we announce the new fall schedule at our Upfront presentation to September 24, premiere week, we are laser focused on one thing: launching our new shows.

The process starts with watching pilots, meeting with producers and programmers, listening to research findings, and then translating all that into the science and art of entertainment marketing campaigns.

On-air promotional spots, print ads (see my previous blog post) radio spots, billboards, digital campaigns, interactive displays — you name it, we’re doing it. And there’s as much strategy in the media that we buy as there is in the ad creative itself.

2012-2013 Series Key Art

Watch the show previews on

What’s the “secret sauce” at CBS? We’re a tight-knit and totally integrated team. Programming, marketing, publicity, and research — we all work together focused on our message and on our marketing strategy. And when it comes to the constantly changing world of tech, we all understand that technology serves our programming, not the other way around. People watch shows, not platforms!

To get them to watch, we harness the momentum from our very solid returning schedule, so the promo spots about new shows are seen by millions of TV fans. And we bring a huge amount of marketing muscle to the game using the massive reach of the CBS TV Network, CBS Radio, CBS Interactive, and CBS Outdoor to support fall launches, in addition to lots of off-network media that we buy.

Then our added “secret weapons” are our more than 200 CBS affiliate stations — they are our local marketing partners on the front lines in communities across America. All of these elements work in tandem all summer long.

Last week we sent out the creative for all of our billboards and print ads. New TV spots are produced every week. Trailers about our shows are running in thousands of movie theaters this summer; that’s all part of our strategy for reaching entertainment fans while the Olympics dominate network TV. And as the weeks progress, consumers will be seeing more and more of our marketing messages on every platform imaginable, so get ready!

In addition to placing promos and ads on owned and paid media, there will be apps, tweets, and posts galore in the social sphere. There’s a saying in our business: just when you are sick of hearing about something is when it is just starting to break through to everyone else. So get ready, and as always, stay tuned.

Live from the set of ‘Vegas’


George on the casino set of Vegas with the show’s executive producer Nick Pileggi, writer of Goodfellas and Casino.

One hour north of Los Angeles in a town called Santa Clarita is a nondescript studio location where showbiz magic is quietly being made. From the road, it looks like a series of warehouses but inside it houses the spectacular set and production facilities for the new CBS show “Vegas,” starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis.

I took a drive up there this week and was knocked out by the look, the detail, and the scope of it all. Not only does it house a set for the fictional Savoy Casino Hotel — the central setting of the new series, it also has its own mini Vegas strip, 1960s style! It’s thrilling to see all the elements come together, from the authentic ’60s wardrobe and cars to the extras and the impressive re-creation of the Golden Nugget Casino and other Vegas sites like a newsstand with authentic 1960s publications (no People magazine or USA Today!)

Below are my attempts at capturing the scene with my camera phone, but a recent Los Angeles Times story does it far better justice than I can. Suffice it to say, the “Vegas” that’s coming to CBS this fall is all this and more. We’re more exited than ever to see what happens next. So stay tuned!