CBS Considers Promoting 'S' Word Sitcom


How does a broadcast network promote a show with a word in its title that the Federal Communications Commission forbids it to use? This is the marketing question CBS hasn't answered as yet with one new show, titled "$#*! My Dad Says."

"We are talking about that now," says George Schweitzer, president for CBS Marketing Group.

The show, based on the Twitter sensation "Shit My Dad Says," raises an unusual issue. Even in the presentation of CBS's new schedule to advertisers, executives were mum. "We never really said the name of the show," says Schweitzer. FCC rules forbids the use of the "s" -word for broadcasters, which would give problems for the copy of an on-air announcer. Some TV executives wondered whether CBS might use the word "bleep" in connection with the show.



Earlier in the day, in a press conference, Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, also didn't say the name of the show. Still, Tassler said there were certain promo hurdles in touting the series. There were also obvious marketing possibilities, such as having the popular nerdy characters in CBS' big hit "The Big Bang Theory" tout William Shatner, who will star in "$#*! My Father Says."

The Shatner-show follows "Bang" on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. Shatner has been identified with his longtime on-air persona, Captain James T. Kirk in "Star Trek," something of a key cultural symbol among certain young-adult techies.

Good news for CBS -- time is on their side. Networks immediately kick-start marketing efforts for new fall dramas and reality shows or new summer programming fare right after the program presentations in mid-May. Comedies are saved for on-air promotion nearer to their debuts.

"You don't want to wear out the jokes," says Schweitzer. "They are run closer to air."

This year, NBC and ABC has a variety of new shows to promote -- CBS less so. But CBS does have a number of big hits changing time periods, such as changes to "Survivor" and "Big Bang Theory." Still, Schweitzer believes its marketing efforts won't need to shift into higher dollar levels.

Starting new shows is "the costly stuff," says Schweitzer. "Moving [and promoting] 'Big Bang Theory' is less costly."

In reaction to "$#*! My Father Says," the Parents Television Council said it would "wage an unrelenting campaign" against every advertiser on the show, saying that the network "intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show."

2 comments about "CBS Considers Promoting 'S' Word Sitcom".
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  1. Mike Bloxham from Magid, May 21, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

    One can only hope that the PTC becomes a marketing boon for the program and that advertisers show some backbone if they decide in the first place that it's the right place to be.

    And does anyone else warm to the irony of casting an actor called Shatner in the lead role?

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 21, 2010 at 12:49 p.m.

    Curiously, it's OK to say 'bullshit' on network TV, because I've heard the word there on occasion, especially on 60 Minutes. But (Meredith Viera bloopers notwithstanding) you still can't say 'shit' on broadcast TV.

    George Carlin once opined that it's a word people say when they drop a big bowl of noodles on the floor. 'Oh, shit, look at the noodles' -- but seldom heard on American TV.

    I think it comes down to what you want to hear your ten-year-old blurt out in front of Grandma. Legitimizing the use of the word by putting it in the show title of a broadcast program does not help a parent's job. Penn & Teller might feel otherwise.

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