EYE ON AGE-OLD ISSUE

Moonves sees profits growing in 25-54 demo

CBS Entertainment president Leslie Moonves unveiled new projects for next season, including a new drama from Steven Bochco, and took aim at Madison Avenue and the advertising industry’s obsession with the 18-49 audience.

Having stopped the bleeding at the Eye web, CBS Entertainment president Leslie Moonves is turning his attention toward improving the image of CBS’ older-skewing audience.

Speaking at the semi-annual Television Critics Assn. press tour, Moonves said that currently 33% of all media buys are based on adults 25-54, the demo with which CBS has its greatest success. Moonves also predicted that in another three years as baby boomers continue to age, 50% of all advertising will be geared toward the 25-54 popu-lation. The CBS Entertainment topper said the network will unveil in the coming weeks a major deal with a top advertiser that will further back the web’s belief that 25-54 is the future.

Still, Moonves acknowledged that CBS needs to get at least a little bit younger. “Our first priority was to get viewers,” he said, adding that the addition of such star-driven shows as “Cosby” and “Ink” have helped accomplish that goal.

However, Moonves added that the two expensive shows have not been the runaway hits the web was anticipating. But, he noted, “Cosby” is still doing better in households than ABC’s second-year success “Drew Carey,” which Moonves helped develop when he was head of Warner Bros. Television.

‘Brooklyn’ set

On the programming front, Moonves said Steven Bochco’s first drama for the network would be a police show titled “Brooklyn South” that the network is looking to schedule for this fall. This marks the first show Bochco will produce under his production deal with CBS. “Public Morals,” which CBS canceled after one episode this season, was developed by Bochco when he was associated with ABC.

Bochco will develop “Brooklyn South” with his longtime collaborators David Milch and William Finkelstein.

CBS has also signed John Larroquette to a series for either midseason or the following season. Larroquette, who rose to fame on the show “Night Court,” most recently starred in “The John Larroquette Show,” which NBC can-celed late last year.

Moonves also confirmed that “Coach” executive producer Barry Kemp has signed on to executive produce the Eye web’s comedy with Tom Selleck that is expected to be on the 1997-98 schedule. Kemp, who had been associated with Universal Television for several years, recently signed an overall deal at Paramount Network Television.

More ‘Raymond’

With respect to this season, Moonves said the network has ordered four more episodes of the Friday-night comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The sitcom, starring Ray Romano, has been a favorite of critics but has yet to take off in the ratings. It is averaging a 6.3 rating and a 12 share, according to Nielsen.

Moonves said CBS is still up in the air as to whether this will be the last season for the network’s veteran comedy “Murphy Brown,” although many industry observers expect that will be the case.

On the industry front, Moonves said he would like to see the networks stop battling each other and worry more about erosion to cable. “Negativity is spreading through this industry like a virus,” Moonves said. Studios, he noted, don’t point out which of their competitors do poorly at the box office, which is the norm in the TV business.

Moonves again called for the end of sweeps, the four months out of the year during which the networks load up on stunts and specials to pump ratings for their affiliates.

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