by Emily Norman
Brief HistoryFounded in 1927 by Arthur Judson as an alternative to NBC, the Columbia Broadcasting System has been delivering news and entertainment for nearly a century. CBS has flourished in the realm of television, as it produced hits such as The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), M*A*S*H (1972-1983), and 60 Minutes (1968-). In 1995, the company was sold to Westinghouse Electric Corporation for about $5 billion. Today, Westinghouse is known as CBS Corporation .
For the 2014 third quarter, CBS announced a revenue of $3.37 billion, which is up 2% from the 2013 third quarter. Similarly, advertising revenue also grew 2%, due to Thursday Night Football as well as midterm elections. However, the company’s adjusted net earnings were just $400 million, down $31 million from the year before. Also during the third quarter, CBS bought back just under seven million shares of its own stock for about $400 million . As of November 28th, 2014, the price of one share was $54.88. This was just above of its 52-week low of $48.83 .
CBS Daytime ProgrammingCBS has always excelled in the world of daytime drama. Now, in 2014, it is the only broadcast network to feature more than one soap opera: The Young and the Restless (1973-) and The Bold and the Beautiful (1987-). The Young and the Restless saw a 1.3 rating for the 18-49 demo this past September, which is up 8% from March. This bump in viewership is accredited to the return of Shemar Moore . Meanwhile, its sister-soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, featured a pair of cross-over episodes with Big Brother in celebration of Halloween . Both these daytime dramas have performed spectacularly, routinely beating out NBC’s Days of Our Lives and ABC’s General Hospital .
CBS Primetime ProgrammingFor the 2014-2015 season, CBS launched five new series in the fall. The majority of the new shows are hour-long dramas, including Scorpion, Stalker, Madam Secretary, and the second spin-off of the hit series NCIS, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS. CBS only launched one new sitcom this fall: The McCarthys . Of these new series, Scorpion is performing the best, with an average 18-49 demo rating of 2.47 as of November 19th, 2014. At the bottom of the pack is the network’s lone rookie sitcom, The McCarthys, which is averaging a rating of about 1.51 in the same demo, making it susceptible to cancelation . None of CBS’ new launches have been canceled as of November 20th, 2014 . The network boasts The Big Bang Theory as one of its top ratings giants. Now in its eighth season, the sitcom is consistently one of the highest-rated shows of the week, earning a whopping 4.5 in the 18-49 demo the week of November 10th . The series has already been renewed for a ninth season . Now in its twelfth season, NCIS has consistently ranked high in overall viewership; for the week of November 10th, the series boasted over 17 million viewers, trailing just behind the 20 million that NBC’s coverage of Sunday Night Football brought in . The 2014-2015 season also marks the end of two of the network’s major veteran shows: Two and a Half Men and The Mentalist. After having lost two of its leading men, Two and a Half Men reached an all-time low average of 10.66 million viewers for its eleventh season, and, while 10 million viewers is still an impressive figure, the show has run its course and will go off the air in May . The Mentalist garnered around 11.5 million viewers in its previous season. It has been speculated that, should these numbers remain impressive throughout the show’s shortened 13-episode-long final season, Warner Brothers could shop the show to other networks .
Additional Properties Programming
The CW ProgrammingThe joint venture of Time Warner and CBS, The CW has been a staple in young adult programming since 2006 . For the 2014-2015 season, The CW launched two new series: The Flash and Jane the Virgin . The Flash garnered nearly seven million viewers in the Live+7 ratings for its October premiere, making it the most watched piece of television that the network has ever aired . Meanwhile, Jane the Virgin has accumulated critical acclaim for introducing diversity to The CW’s lineup . Both The Flash and Jane the Virgin were picked up for full-season orders on October 21st . Supernatural, which began as a WB series in 2005, recently celebrated not only the debut of its tenth season, but also its 200th episode, which garnered the show’s highest ratings since the season premiere: 2.92 million viewers in the Live+3 category . The network has also decreed that a 22nd cycle of America’s Next Top Model be commissioned for the 2015 season . As of Friday, November 14th, the show’s current cycle holds a 0.4 in the 18-49 demo .
Showtime ProgrammingCBS’ cable holding, Showtime, announced this fall its intentions to resurrect Twin Peaks, which ran from 1990-1991 on ABC. Showtime will air the original 30 episodes ahead of the new series, which will consist of nine episodes. The continuation of Twin Peaks will debut in 2016 . In the meantime, Showtime continues to experience success with its critically-acclaimed series Homeland. The series garnered a season-best 1.66 million viewers on November 16th, however, when all platforms are taken into account, the series is averaging well over 5 million viewers on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, The Affair, which airs in the slot following Homeland, delivered roughly 778,000 viewers that same evening, up 16% from the previous week. As with Homeland, multi-platform viewing accounts for a significant portion of its viewership, resulting in a total number of 3.8 million viewers .
CBS All Access
This fall, CBS became the first broadcast network to begin offering a streaming service akin to HBO’s service. This product is called CBS All Access and costs subscribers $5.99 a month. That being said, as of October 16th, the service is only offered in seven US markets, and does not feature NFL games. CBS All Access offers customers a wide array of both current series and canceled series .
Dispute with Dish
In November of 2014, CBS experienced a dispute with Dish TV over negotiations. The companies’ previous contract was signed in January of 2012, and was set to expire by the end of November, however, CBS, along with other major broadcast networks, filed a lawsuit against Dish, citing their ad-skipping feature as the main source of conflict. The feature, which allows the customer to automatically skip over commercials, also prompted an attempt on CBS’ behalf to break their current contract with the satellite company . With multiple Owned & Operated stations on the verge of being blacked out to Dish customers, both companies agreed to a deadline-extension on their current contract; as of November 26th, the extension will reach into early December, prompting further negotiation, while the O&O stations still air their programming .
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