NBC, the first network to present programming to advertisers last week, proudly put the new Aaron Sorkin drama, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," on Thursday at 9 p.m. But even before the ink was dry on the schedule, network executives said they were willing to change it around--depending on other networks' moves.
Thursday was the night that used to belong to NBC. But instead of looking to make a comeback on that night, NBC looks to get out of the way, with ABC scheduling its big "Grey's Anatomy" against CBS's big "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
All this is giving advertisers some pause. If NBC doesn't know where its shows are, advertising executives say a good idea might be to wait until NBC does know.
While many advertisers just buy GRPs in a commodity-like way--without looking too closely as the shows--network schedules are still important. Media agencies need to look at ratings and share estimates.
For NBC, this is not just one small programming move. NBC said "Studio 60" was a highly sought-after new show. NBC would like to protect it--rather than just letting it play to almost certain doom. The odds are that the network moves it to Monday at 9 p.m.--which means NBC's "Heroes" would need to find another spot.
Of course, for the movie companies, Thursday is all-important. They would be the most prone to extra hesitation.
To rid the world of uncertainty, NBC in an unprecedented move, might make a major programming switch only days after its upfront program presentation.
Waiting on NBC has to be considered another big "negotiating-in-the-press" move by advertisers--one where marketers are looking at ways to slow down the upfront negotiating process. Networks and advertisers are already at a standstill over the DVR viewing issues. Marketers also say potential digital offerings give them pause as well.
The claim that they need NBC to make a programming decision, seems to add another ball in their court.