A tradition came to a close last season when the kibosh was put on the annual rite of spring in which a flotilla of Madison Avenue media buyers trooped out to Hollywood for presentations of shows the networks have in the works for the coming season.
Most network programmers hated the annual junket because it cost time and money and usually resulted in the media buyers criticizing the bulk of the shows the webs have in development. But the advertisers hold the purse strings, so the networks worked out a compromise last season: They held a series of informal briefings with A-listers from the buying community.
Once again this year ABC, NBC and Fox will have a series of small sessions with a select crew of ad execs. Meanwhile, CBS has decided to bring back Spring Break, but the web will do it in New York, at the Ed Sullivan Theater, on March 16.
Eye web brass, suffering through this season’s crash from first to third place in the primetime race, obviously know they need to create some excitement among the people who keep the lights on, and will brief 450 media buyers on the network’s development bag of tricks. “This is an opportunity for us to set ourselves apart from the other guys and show we’re taking care of business,” says George Schweitzer, CBS executive veep/marketing and communications.
“(CBS programming chief) Peter Tortorici is so good at making our case that we thought this is a way for us to have a real impact and generate some excitement about the network.”