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TV Upfront

Upfronts download: The CW won't reduce ad loads, but CNN will

By Published on .

'We do not believe advertising is ruining the TV business,' Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at CBS, told an upfronts crowd.
'We do not believe advertising is ruining the TV business,' Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at CBS, told an upfronts crowd. Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Welcome to our special pop-up TV upfronts newsletter. All this week I'm nothing but an upfront girl living in an upfront world. Each day in place of our usual Media Buzz newsletter, we're bringing bring you breaking news about the upfronts and some of the best (and worst) of TV's dog-and-pony show. One more to go after today: Sign up here.

Coming to Sundays: standard ad loads on CW

The CW is expanding into Sunday nights with "Supergirl" and its reboot of the witchy series "Charmed," Anthony Crupi reports. The move to program originals on Sundays was a splashy indication by the network of its support of the broadcast model

These two new hours are expected to boost the network's national ad inventory "by about 20 percent," said Rob Tuck, executive VP of network sales.

Despite an audience that skews younger than rival broadcasters, The CW isn't necessarily looking to move away from traditional TV, or to limit advertising for that matter.

"The buzz around the industry right now is there is a real sense of the cost of doing limited commercial runs, and the clients, most of the clients, are hesitant to foot the bill on the premium that would be pushed back to them," Tuck said. "So, while we're certainly open to trying to figure out these things in the future, there is no formalized plan to limit our advertising."

The most trusted name in limited commercial interruptions

Turner's CNN is the latest network to say it is reducing commercial loads, with plans to limit ads in certain programs, TheWrap reported.

CNN will have six new original series debuting next year that could get the limited interruption treatment, including "Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta," "Tricky Dick," "American Dynasties: The Bushes," "American Style" (working title), "Once in a Great City: Detroit 1962-64" and "The Redemption Project."

CBS is pro-commercials

CBS president and chief advertising revenue officer Jo Ann Ross sides with The CW, a network CBS co-owns with Warner Bros.

"Unlike those focused on commercial loads, we do not believe advertising is ruining the TV business," Ross said to the audience at Carnegie Hall during CBS' upfronts pitch on Wednesday.

Ross also took a shot at Fox's so-called Jaz pods, one-minute commercial breaks that feature "just a and z" spots, or the first and last ad units in a break, walking on stage doing Jazz hands.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves received a rousing applause and standing ovation. The network is in a legal battle with Shari Redstone and her National Amusements that on Thursday saw a judge siding with Redstone.

A Delaware judge denied CBS' request for a temporary restraining order against Redstone, The New York Times reported. CBS has sought to prevent her from interfering in a board meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon where board members are scheduled to vote on a special stock dividend that would reduce Redstone's voting stake. But the judge issued a warning that they could all end up back in court if Redstone does anything that might harm the company or its shareholders.

Hits and Misses

It's become increasingly difficult for advertisers to predict which shows will be hits and which won't live to see a second season. But still, every year, they are forced to commit dollars for the new season months in advance. So we continue to try to calculate which new shows have the greatest odds for success and which don't stand a chance. Among those poised to be the biggest winners are CBS' "Magnum P.I." and "Murphy Brown," The CW's "Charmed" reboot and ABC's new drama "A Million Little Things."

Wish list

What do celebrities want to see at the upfronts? Adweek posed that question on NBC Universal's red carpet.

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