CBS execs on Friday defended their decision to postpone a repeat of “Family Law,” calling it a sound business decision in a tough advertising marketplace.
The Eye had scheduled the episode, which dealt with kids and gun violence, to air Aug. 13. But the network then pulled the seg and replaced it with another repeat after web execs were reminded that Procter & Gamble would not advertise in the episode.
Procter & Gamble — which sealed a $300 million cross-platform ad deal with CBS parent Viacom last spring — generally avoids placing its ads in series that contain even a hint of controversy. CBS execs said it was relatively common for networks to choose less controversial episodes when picking which reruns to air.
The New York Times reported the “Family Law” preemption on Friday. CBS said the episode in question, which featured guest thesp Dana Delany, will instead air Sept. 10 — one night after the web airs the telepic “The Patron Saint of Liars,” which also stars Delany.
“If you only plan to repeat a few episodes of a series, it is common business sense to rebroadcast the episodes that have the most sales potential,” the network said in a statement. “CBS does not program its network based on directives from advertisers, and in fact neither Procter & Gamble nor its agency asked for or suggested these changes.”
WGA critical of move
That explanation didn’t set well with Writers Guild prexy John Wells, who will exec produce frosh drama “Citizen Baines” at CBS this fall.
“The Writers Guild views the CBS decision to pull episodes from its rerun schedule because one advertiser objected to the content as a serious threat to the creative rights of all artists in our industry,” Wells said.
In another statement, CBS responded that the network is “as mindful of the rights of artists as is the Writers Guild.”