Inside move: Nets rallying round the flag

Patriotic logos popping up everywhere

Forget the Nielsen race: The nets are now squaring off in a war of patriotic proportions.

The major webs have all introduced variations on the U.S. flag to their promo repertoire in recent days, in many cases altering their logos to include the red, white and blue.

But now that they have rallied ’round the flag, execs quietly wonder what’s tasteful and when’s the right time to change back.

CBS was first out, airing a classy three-second shot of a flag lightly rustling in the wind and a small, transparent Eye logo discreetly at the corner of the screen. The spot now runs in lieu of a network ID between shows and during commercial breaks.

NBC, meanwhile, at the behest of network chairman-CEO Bob Wright, started bathing its peacock logo with the flag over the weekend. The network’s bug at the bottom of the screen formerly featured a transparent peacock over the Olympic rings.

In its place, the peacock’s feathers are now filled in with the stars and stripes. Execs felt the look made the peacock less recognizable, so the letters “NBC” were added as well.

“We made a very rare exception to alter the peacock, but these are very rare times,” said John Miller, president of the NBC Agency.

NBC isn’t the only net altering its corner-screen bug. ABC added red, white and blue stripes to its Alphabet sphere logo starting with last night’s “Monday Night Football” game. The WB has put three lightly shaded red, white and blue stripes behind its logo.

Fox’s bug, meanwhile, includes an animated flag that turns into the usual, transparent Fox logo.

One net insider wondered whether the nets have forever changed their logos — or if there will come a point when it’s passe to show off too much flag imagery.

“Who’s to decide when we’re no longer patriotic?” she asked.

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