Family Programming Night On The Networks? Pick The Weakest Link

It's December, and you're asking the obvious question: Where is my family-friendly TV entertainment?

Sure, you could go to the likes of Hallmark Channel, or maybe believe that NBC's "Parenthood," Fox's "Raising Hope" or ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" is your "family" programming. But, of course, you'd be wrong.

TV and advertising executives want a bigger platform, one where the entire family can watch a TV show. (Like the bone-crunching, sexy-cheerleadering Super Bowl, which tthe NFL will tout as family programming).

Last season Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart funded two made-for-TV movies on NBC on Friday night, and another just this past weekend. Now it looks like P&G also wants to do the same on Fox. (But we're not sure where. Fridays? Saturdays?)

Some wonder why P&G would only set its sights on the low-rated Friday-night time period. That's easy. Networks typically invest less in that night, and would have no trouble pre-empting their schedule in April, July, and in December, when those movies ran



The Association of National Advertisers still has its Alliance for Family Entertainment group, in which 400 national advertisers like P&G, Wal-Mart, and others contribute seed money for TV screenplays with a family-viewing bent.

The Alliance has been around for a while. But it has never seemed to be enough to convince networks to make family programming a key part of a network's overall strategy -- especially where marketers want to see family programming the most, in what had called the "family hour," from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The fact of the matter is, broadcast networks have got bigger issues to deal with these days -- profitability, survival (for some), and ever-decreasing value. TV marketers pushing for family programming realize this and are shooting somewhat lower -- looking for time periods or nights of the week where they can make a start.

Fridays night for families? Saturday night for families? That's an approach some networks might consider.

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