In contrast, some networks, such as ABC and CBS, have emphasized the importance and stability of their linear fall slate. ABC released its programming grid on Tuesday ahead of its presentation, leaning into the strength of its Wednesday evenings featuring “The Conners,” “The Goldbergs” and newfound hit “Abbott Elementary.”
“Our fall schedule is a testament to our strong, dynamic programming slate that we’re continuing to nurture with top talent, world-class, award-winning storytellers and marquee titles,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, in a statement. “By capitalizing on the success of our strongest assets, we’re betting on stability while also introducing and investing in key projects that will allow us to build on our momentum as the No. 1 entertainment network for the third consecutive year.”
On Wednesday morning, CBS announced a similar emphasis on the strength of its linear scheduling. The network is devoting Tuesdays to its “FBI” franchise and Wednesdays to its popular reality programming, including The Amazing Race” and “Survivor.” CBS declared Friday its “most dominant night,” allocating more of its law enforcement series to the end-of-week slate.
“For the new season, we once again looked for ways to strengthen our position with new, compelling series, scheduling them strategically to guarantee sampling and maximize consistency and flow,” said Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, in a statement.
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And landing somewhere in the middle is NBC, which announced it schedule on Monday and that its shows would debut on Peacock the day after they air on linear.
“While leaning into our strong, stable schedule in the fall, we’re also rethinking legacy launch timing to give our shows the best chance for success,” said Frances Berwick, chairman, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal TV and Streaming. “With the huge reach that our affiliate partner stations provide, coupled with exclusive next-day availability on Peacock, our NBC shows will truly be accessible to audiences in any way that they want to watch.”
For media buyers, the commotion is just noise as streaming has shifted marketers’ interest from timing to programming with the most eyes, which many networks support with cross-platform ad packages.
“It’s not a huge deal to the buyers,” said an industry insider. “Most seasoned folks know that what is announced in May likely will get moved or delayed and it’s too early to set in stone. They mostly look at programming, not day/time.”
Others agree with the idea that timing matters less.
“As viewers continue to watch the content they love on their terms, on-demand and according to their timeline, the notion of 'day and date' has become less relevant,” Dave Sederbaum, executive VP, head of video investment, Dentsu Media US. “Furthermore, as our investment decisions are focused on specific audiences rather than programs per se, we are looking to reach consumers on their own time, in the right place and at the right time.”