Season 1 of the critically-acclaimed “Good Wife” spinoff will begin airing on CBS beginning Sunday, June 16. The first two episodes will air back-to-back beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Episodes three and four will air the following Sunday at the same time. After that, the remaining episodes of the 10-episode season will air every Sunday at 10 p.m.
CBS president and acting CEO Joe Ianniello disclosed Wednesday that CBS was strongly considering give the first season of “Good Fight” a summer run on CBS to help promote awareness of the show and CBS All Access. The “Good Fight” discussion was the highlight of an otherwise uneventful CBS annual shareholders meeting, held at the Museum of Modern Art.
“Good Fight,” which bowed in 2017, was the first original drama to launch on CBS All Access. The series has been widely praised by critics but some observers have wondered if CBS is making the most of the show by keeping it as an All Access exclusive. All Access at present is believed to have about 4 million subscribers.
“Good Fight” wrapped its 10-episode third season on May 16. Airing episodes of the show on CBS during the summer-light programming period will help CBS make the most of its investment in “Good Fight.” It also hopes to drive subscribers to All Access in time for the show’s fourth season, which will bow in the first quarter of next year.
Ianniello’s remarks about “Good Fight” were prompted by a question from a shareholder about the availability of the series on physical DVDs. (The shareholder said she had a DVD set of season one but hadn’t been able to find season two yet.)
The CBS board of directors has no shortage of big strategic questions to tackle at a transformative time for media. The company until last month was in the midst of search for a permanent CEO until the board called off the effort and extended Ianniello’s contract through year’s end. But very little of this was raised in the handful of questions that came from shareholders during the meeting that was completed in just under 30 minutes.
CBS is still in the throes of its own upheaval following the ouster of longtime leader Leslie Moonves last September. The board was reconfigured after the Moonves shakeup and the settlement of litigation against CBS and Viacom controlling shareholder National Amusements. Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements and vice chair of CBS and Viacom, attended the CBS meeting but did not speak. The CBS board is set to gather later today for a session in which M&A options and strategic concerns are understood to be high on the agenda.
CBS at present is in negotiations with Lionsgate to buy the Starz premium cable group. There’s also expectations that in the near future CBS and Viacom will once again hammer out terms to merge, something Redstone has advocated.
CBS’ pursuit of Starz and the potential for other large-scale content acquisitions — MGM and Sony Pictures have been frequently mentioned as a good fit with the Eye — are seen as efforts to bulk up and widen the reach beyond what could be achieved by reuniting CBS and Viacom, more than a dozen years after the companies were spit by Redstone’s father, Sumner Redstone. Sumner Redstone turned 96 on May 27.
CBS interim board chairman Strauss Zelnick presided over the meeting, which began prompted at 10:30 a.m. ET. The 11 director nominees were easily re-elected with 98% of the vote, thanks in large part to National Amusements’ super-voting shares.
The first shareholder at the microphone after the brief business portion of the meeting identified himself as Charles A. Fernandez Jr. He declared that CBS “should remain separate from Viacom.” He praised the recent turnaround effort at Viacom but asserted that he didn’t think it would “fit in” with CBS. “CBS is a growth company and should be on its own,” he said. Neither Zelnick nor Ianniello responded.
Ianniello did respond to a shareholder question about CBS’ view of the potential for sports betting as a business and advertising sales opportunity. The acting CBS chief said the company has been approached by numerous potential partners to use CBS Sports’ infrastructure in connecting with wagering.
“We view this as an opportunity as a category coming in for local advertising and a huge platform for CBS Sports in general,” Ianniello said. “From a content and advertising perspective, it’s an opportunity.”
Other shareholder questions concerned CBS’ views of blockchain and crypto-currencies. “We get paid in cash,” Ianniello assured the crowd. Another urged the board to ask the star of CBS’ hit court show series “Judge Judy” to stop using the word “kerfuffle.” And another suggested the company put up an informational web page to list all of the series produced by CBS Corp., which he suggested might also help sell shares of stock.
“We will take that under advisement,” Ianniello said. “We love bragging about ourselves.”