The CBS chief isn’t prepared to stop once he persuades advertisers to pay for viewers who watch commercials as much as seven days after a show airs — a change he expects to see next year from the current live-plus-three-days. “We’re pushing eventually for live plus 30,” Les Moonves told investors this morning at the RBC Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference. Viewers increasingly watch shows on DVRs, VOD, and online. As a result, for a series such as CBS’ Hostages “when you count 30 days more, the number [of viewers] almost doubles,” he says. Moonves adds that buyers should be willing to pay. “If you show the advertisers that a person is really watching them, that’s a good thing….Advertisers are paying for the eyeballs that are watching their spots.” But Disney CEO Bob Iger, for one, says it may take longer than Moonves thinks to persuade buyers to even raise the current threshold to seven days. “I’m not sure it’s going to happen very quickly,” Iger said last week. “I don’t think the advertising community is going to move that fast.” READ MORE »
CBS just delivered an answer to investors who wonder when the company — whose share price has appreciated 80% over the last 12 months — will run out of gas: Not yet, even during a period that included its 32-day run-in with Time Warner Cable. …
This is a topical project given the big healthcare debate at the moment. CBS has out in development The Advocate, a drama from CSI maven Carol Mendelsohn and Scandal co-exec producer Judy Smith, the crisis management consultant the series’ Olivia Pope was based on. Written by Ayelet Waldman, The Advocate centers on a former doctor who has found her calling as a medical advocate, where she works on behalf of patients and their loved ones, solving medical crises and mysteries, and guaranteeing people the care they deserve.
“We are better off with CBS than we would have been if we had not had this fight,” Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt told analysts this morning about the contract dispute that resulted in a 32-day blackout of CBS stations and channels this summer. If that’s true, then CBS must have started off bargaining for a horrific deal because the final results were terrible for Time Warner Cable. COO Rob Marcus, who’ll succeed Britt at year end, said that subscription losses — some disclosed in this morning’s Q3 earnings report — “were much worse than we planned.” They included “elevated customer disconnects” and a 10% increase in the number of people dropping video from their double or triple play packages. The sub losses “bled over into [broadband] and voice.” And the showdown contributed to a spike in calls to TWC’s service centers. The fracas ended up slashing revenues by $15M and cash flow by $5M in Q3 — and will have a spillover effect on Q4. The damage was “much greater than expected,” says Credit Suisse’s Michael Senno. MoffettNathanson Research’s Craig Moffett was more blunt: “Every cable operator now goes to the table knowing that CBS not only won the war, but left TWC badly damaged even for having fought the fight. If you thought the scales were tipped in programmers’ favor before, now you know that it is worse than you imagined.”
EXCLUSIVE: As fans are preparing to say goodbye to one of TV’s most popular comedies, How I Met Your Mother, CBS is looking to extend the franchise. I’ve learned that the network is in talks with HIMYM producer 20th Century Fox TV for a spinoff series, which takes a female spin on the original show. Referred to as How I Met Your Father, the spinoff hails from HIMYM creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and Up All Night creator/exec producer Emily Spivey. It would feature a new group of New York friends and chronicle a female member of the group’s quest to meet her future husband. I hear the new characters could be introduced in the HIMYM series finale, and Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin’s favorite hangout, MacLaren’s Pub, may be featured on the new show, serving as a link between the two gangs. The premise, which is not tied to any of the original HIMYM characters, gives Bays, Thomas and Spivey a clean slate to build new characters and relationships. The trio, who will co-write and executive produce the spinoff, share a background — they all started in late-night and worked on New York-based late-night shows (Late Show for Bays and Thomas, Saturday Night Live for Spivey) before transitioning to primetime comedy series.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS has put in development Alleged, a drama from CBS TV Studios and Jon Turteltaub‘s studio-based Junction Entertainment. Written by playwright/TV writer David Rambo and Pat Gilfillan, the project centers on a defense attorney who takes on the most important case of his life: defending his own brother, a successful surgeon and father of two who is accused of murdering his wife. The story is informed by high-profile spouse murder cases like those of Drew Peterson and Scott Peterson much like another CBS/CBS TV Studios drama, The Good Wife, was inspired by a string of politicians wives who’d stood by their philandering husbands. This marks the first project under an overall deal WME-repped Junction recently inked with CBS Studios, returning to CBS after a two-year stint at ABC Studios.
CBS shows have migrated to younger skewing sibling the CW — CBS pilot Ringer became a CW series, and defunct CBS vampire drama Moonlight got a second run on the sister network. Now for the first time, there is migration in the other direction, with CBS looking to reboot a series from the CW predecessor, the WB. CBS has given a script order to Charmed, a reimagining of the original series centered around four sisters who discover their destiny – to battle against the forces of evil using their witchcraft. Created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Spelling TV, Charmed aired on the WB for eight seasons, concluding just before the network’s merger with UPN to form the CW in 2006. It has done well in off-network syndication on TNT and streaming on Netflix.
Feature writer Michael Diliberti (30 Minutes Or Less) has set up two TV projects through his double blind script deal at ABC Studios. He has teamed with Shine America and Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite for comedy …
The Internet was abuzz today with a report that grinchy old CBS was getting that warm, cuddly holiday feeling and had announced it would air back-to-back episodes of I Love Lucy, colorized and without commercial interruption, and call it The I Love Lucy Christmas Special, on December 20.
Portions of that report were true.
The I Love Lucy Christmas Special will feature colorized episodes of the 1950s CBS comedy series: the seldom-seen “Christmas Episode,” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (aka The Grape Stomping Episode). The network said the episodes were “colorized with a vintage look,” for all you purists out there, “in a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed.” That would be The Black-and-White TV Period, but we’ll let it go. “The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos (Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) and Mertzes (Vivian Vance and William Frawley) decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky. Flashbacks are in black-and-white — to emphasize the time lapse, CBS explained. Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time she shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward. “The Christmas Episode” was first presented as part of the series in December 1956. The episode wasn’t included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication, the network noted, adding that it was thought to be “lost” until CBS “found” it — in 1989.
Nicky, the half-hour project from Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin and their longtime friend Nick Zano, has sold to CBS with a script commitment. The comedy, co-written and to star Zano, was set up at Warner Bros TV in June. Comedy veterans Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen (Rules Of Engagement) have come on board to co-write with Zano the project, based on Zano’s experiences being raised in a multi-generational house of seven women in New Jersey. He will play 30-year old Nicky, who is trying to finally move out of the house only to realize he needs to stay and help raise his youngest sister. Tatum and Carolin will executive produce through their production company, marking the duo’s first foray into TV series, along with Reich and Cohen, while Zano will co-executive produce.