CBS Network, O&Os and Affiliates

by Christen Westbury

CBS: The Beginning

CBS embarked on their humble journey in 1927 as United Independent Broadcasters, Inc. The name of the company went through several name changes over the course of 5 decades, but finally adopted their current name – CBS Corporations – in 1997 when it was bought by Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

CBS originally started as a radio entity that was founded by Arthur Judson, but was bought by and then propelled forward financially by William S. Paley. Paley put a heavy emphasis on the importance of a large audience and the inherent ties large audiences have with advertisers. With that said he created a plan to make CBS a lucrative enterprise, supported by advertising sales. He offered free programming to affiliates in exchange for the incorporation of sponsored shows within their programming schedule. This created an avenue for him to acquire money from advertisers to increase CBS’ revenue. Paley took over the company in 1928, and from that year on, the company grew at exponential rates. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, CBS set the foundation for future media successes and in 1940 they added to that foundation by acquiring Columbia records. This expanded their business while also setting a tone for innovation.

In addition to everything that CBS was doing internally, they also had external star power at the forefront of the radio medium. Audiences were able to hear notable stars such as Bing Crosby and Phil Harris, thus helping to draw in high listenership. Their library of stars coupled with their large audience, allowed for an easy transition to television in 1948. From the 1950’s through the 1980’s the television network had huge success with shows such as The Andy Griffith Show, All in the Family and M*A*S*H. The company has since then gone through a plethora of changes in ownership, acquisitions and leadership, however today they are still one of the largest and most lucrative multimedia corporations [1].

CBS: The Parent Company

National Amusements, located in Norwood, Massachusetts, is the Parent Company of CBS corporations and Viacom, owning a controlling percentage of about 80%. Sumner Redstone is the Chief Executive Officer/Owner and his daughter Shari E. Redstone, is the current president of National Amusements. In addition to Redstone being the controlling stockholder of CBS corporations and Viacom, he is also a partner in the business (Global Data 2012) Commercial [10]

The company National Amusements,  is primarily and most importantly one of the frontrunners in the motion picture industry; owning and operating over 950 movie screens worldwide. They operate theatres in six states within the U.S.; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island while also having theaters in Brazil, Argentina, Scotland and Whales. Overall they have made both a national and worldwide presence within the movie picture industry (GlobalData 2012).

The company however, is not a stranger to financial hardships. In recent years, they have acquired around $1.46 billion dollars in debt. Their economic downfalls have forced them to sell 30 movie theatres in Dallas to Rave Cinemas in 2009, almost $1 billion dollars in stock in that same year, 87% of Midway games, and their Russian movie chain in order to try and resolve their debt problems. The company is currently still a thriving entity as a result of their profitable subsidiaries, however they still have not fully fixed their debt woes (GlobalData 2012).

CBS: The Network


The CBS network brand is currently marked by the “eye” logo, and their slogan “Only Us”. The network is one of the Big 4 broadcasting networks that have been and continue to be the major contributors for social, cultural, and political ideologies for television consumers.  The network delivers 22 hours of programming a day for their television audience for the purpose of both entertainment and knowledge. CBS incorporates a variety of programming options throughout their daily schedules, including dramas, comedies, specials, news programs and children shows. Their goal is to have diversified programming aimed towards the many different demographic groups that make up the United States. Some of their major programming successes have included the pioneering reality show ‘Survivor’ Survivor’s Best Moments [11] and the notable news program ’60 minutes.’ [2}


Owned & Operated/Affiliates breakdown

CBS has a total of 16 owned and operated stations that are apart of the CBS television network. The stations include KCBS-Los Angeles, KPIX-San Francisco, KOVR-Sacramento, KCNC-Denver, WFOR-Miami, WBBM-Chicago, WJZ-Baltimore, WBZ-Boston, WWJ-Detroit, WCCO-Minneapolis, WCBS-New York, KYW-Philadephia, KDKA-Pittsburgh, and KTVT-Dallas. Additionally, the network has over 205 affiliates in 48 states.[3]


Affiliate News

April 2, 2012 – Earlier in the year CBS Television Stations closed the acquisition deal of the independent New York station,  WLNY-TV. CBS coupled together the newly acquired station with their flagship Television station –WCBS-TV– to maximize all resources and to increase success within that market. The purpose of this business move was to give CBS a “duopoly in the nations largest media market” in addition to providing more opportunities for the network. Betty Ellen Berlamino was named both vice president and the station manager of WLNY. [5]

July 17, 2012 – In the summer of this year CBS acquired three new affiliate stations through an affiliation agreement with Gray Television, Inc. The stations include WECP-Panama City, Fla, WSVF-Harrisonburg, VA, and WIYE-Parkersburg, W.VA. This deal allowed CBS to have a presence in new markets, thus strengthening their portfolio. [6]

Fall 2012 Programming

This season the CBS Television Network added a total of four new series and returned 19 to their programming schedule. The new series included the newest hit drama Elementary CBS Elementary Promo [12],  as well as Vegas, Made in Jersey, and the comedy series Partners. The new drama Elementary has won the 18-49 demographic for the 10 o’clock time slot for a consistent 10 weeks. Some of the returning series for this fall 2012 season include ‘Person of Interest’ which was the #1 new show and the #1 comedy the Big Bang theory. The most recent reports have shown that NBC and CBS are tied for first place for the key demographic group of 18-49 year olds, averaging a 2.6 rating. [7]

CBS: 2012 Top Stories

June 21,2012— In the month of June, CBS made an unparalleled move by creating the largest major market radio sports network in the nation with the development of the CBS sports radio network through a deal with Cumulus media. This deal requires Cumulus media to act as the exclusive distribution and sales partner. They are responsible for the affiliate agreements, ad sales and exclusive syndication. [8]


November 11, 2012 – CBS sports network obtained rights to the AFL. This is a two-year agreement that will include 19 games and two play off games. The programming will start March 23, 2012. [9]


When looking back at this passed year, it is evident that the CBS network has remained profitable and on top. They have continued to expand their business in radio and have also championed effective programming. The company began with humble beginnings in the 1920’s and from that moment moving forward, they have sufficiently trail blazed a path of what success and efficiency truly looks like. In order to remain a multimedia conglomerate a company must have their roots firmly planted in various medium and must be a Mecca of innovation. CBS the corporation, has done just  that, and have created a formula for remaining one of America’s greatest media companies.














Global Data. (2012). National amusements company profile. Hoover’s Inc. Retrieved from

Pictures (excluding CBS Logo)





by Christen Westbury

Programming Overview: What Makes the TV World Go ‘Round?

The answer to the question above, is television programming. Television programming refers to the shows that are aired on television networks for the purpose of obtaining an audience. Television programs are essentially the vitamins that keep the television industry growing and flourishing from year to year. The skeleton that supports programming is advertising. With the exception of publically owned TV stations, television networks are heavily supported financially by the advertising space that they sell to various companies. Corporations such as Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, and GM, funnel billions of dollars into television advertising every year. Their dollars translate into :30 second or :60 second commercials where they advertise their product or service between and during programs. Nevertheless, going back to what makes the television industry an industry, programming is the necessary piece that provides the content for what we see projecting through our TV screens.

Programming however, is not a guaranteed moneymaker and/or success story. It is one of, if not the most risky elements of the television industry. No programmer knows what exactly makes a hit show, nor does a programmer know exactly what makes a show last. There are general formats and concepts that have proven to be successful, however no one can predict how well a program will thrive, until it hits the TV screens of consumers. Programming is a component within the television industry that is more complex than most would assume. Programs must be constantly innovating and portraying what audiences want to see, but at the same time how exactly does one do that? That responsibility essentially rests in the hands of a programmer.

The job of the individual programmer is to act as a cultural and social interpreter, soaking up as much information about the society as possible. This involves but is not limited too, researching the competition, studying previous hit shows, learning about what are the latest social trends, predicting new crazes, analyzing demographics and consumer behavior, listening to the latest news, and deciding what fits the brand of the particular company. All in all, programming is something that is essential to this industry, but must be carefully executed in order to make shows come into full fruition.

Programming Genres: The Breakdown [1]

In the world of programming, there are a variety of different types of shows. The different shows in a specific category sometimes follow a general outline that has been successful for past programs, but some choose to manipulate the formula and go their own route. Overall, there are many genres of television shows, but there are four that are produced the most. [2]

The Sports Program

The first type of programming that is heavily produced are sports programs. Sports are a big business industry that is responsible for the production of many hours of programming footage for the various television networks (including both broadcast and cable). Sports programs include the coverage of tennis matches, soccer games, Monday Night Football, the NCAA basketball tournament, SportsCenter highlight shows, 30 for 30 documentaries, and a plethora of other types of sports coverage. This specific programming type is hugely seen within the TV industry due to the profitability of its market. Last year sports was a $422 billion dollar industry that TV was heavily apart of.

The Dramas

The second program type that is incredibly popular is the Drama. The television drama is scripted programming that incorporates fictional storylines. Dramatic programming is filled with suspense, cliffhangers, questions, and excitement. This category includes action dramas like Fox’s former hit series 24 all the way too soap-programming like ‘Revenge’.  It is a common but yet expensive type of programming to produce.

The News Program

Thirdly, News programming is something that is seen all across the TV medium. The 4 big broadcast networks are responsible for many hours of both national and international news coverage. In addition to their programming, there are also various networks such as CNN and MSNBC that report news 24 hours a day.

The “Reality Show”

The last, but certainly not the least programming type that is widely used in the U.S. is the “reality show”. Reality shows are programs that are intended to portray real life from the perspective of a “fly on the wall.” Essentially these shows are depicting real people in real situations that are unscripted. Some of the most recent reality shows include Big Brother, The Bachelorette, Bad Girls Club-Cabo, and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

What’s the Latest?: Big Stories for Fall 2012 Programming

Walking Dead Season 3 Trailer [7]

‘The Walking Dead’ Walks Up the Ratings Score Board

The Walking Dead is AMC’s hit show that is crushing records in its third season. The success of this show has been one of the biggest stories within programming for the fall 2012 quarter. The Walking Dead is “the first cable series to beat every other show of the fall broadcast season in the adults 18-49 rating” [3]. This relatively new scripted series beat out seasoned vets ‘Modern Family’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, and ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Its midseason finale delivered a whopping 5.6 rating with a grand total of 15.2 million viewers. Additionally, ’The Walking Dead’ is reported to be the most mentioned show in cable programming. This groundbreaking new show has made historic strides, and shows no signs of letting up

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

During this quarter of the year, the east coast experienced a natural disaster by the name of ‘Hurricane Sandy’. This super storm led a path of 13 days worth of devastation, destroying communities, killing over 90 citizens and displacing record amounts of people [4]. New York and New Jersey were among the states that were hit the hardest. New York city was crippled by the destruction of its transit system and gas shortage. In addition, areas of the city were left submerged under water, and many places of businesses were inaccessible. Inevitably the television industry faced major setbacks. CBS was forced to stop the filming of three of its programs, Elementary, the Good Wife, and Blue Bloods. Warner Brothers TV had to stop the filming of 7 of its shows, including the hit series’, ‘Person of Interest’ and ‘Gossip Girl’. Additionally, NBC had to halt the production of ’30 Rock’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’, ‘Smash’, and four of its programs [5]. Hurricane Sandy was responsible for the loss of programming dollars within an industry that cannot afford to sacrifice large production costs. Sandy caused the production of programming to be immobilized thus overall affecting budgets and schedules for many networks.

The Affects of DVR’s & Lower Expectations on Programming

In the past, if a show was not posting successful ratings a network would be quick to cut its losses and replace it with a new show. However, this fall there has been two new trends that are closely tied to DVR’s and the attitudes of those who wield the scissors. This fall more than ever, people have been watching shows not during the immediate broadcast but rather at a later time. This fact alone presents some type of promise that a shows may be posting better ratings then one initially thinks. DVR’s have played a critical role in saving programming that might have otherwise been cut from the fall 2012 lineup. In addition to the direct affects of the DVR, networks appear to also be lowering their standards. Network programming executives are aware that there is a surplus of programming options for the TV consumer during this day an age. With that said, fall 2012 appears to be the quarter where they are taking this fact into account, and lowering their programming rating expectations. This trend coupled with the affects of DVR’s has possibly been the sole reason why poor performing shows like ‘The New Normal’ are still around [6].

To Conclude

Programming is the beauty of the industry; it is what makes people turn on a TV set. It is an element of the TV industry that mystifies many who study this field, because no one really knows what will make something work, but when it does it truly makes your mind tick and your heart flutter. The experience of watching your favorite show of all time is indescribable, but nothing beats being the mind behind giving that feeling to millions, a position I someday will be in.