SBJ/January 28-February 3, 2013/Media

CBS making use of multiple platforms

When NBC signed off from the Super Bowl last year, the broadcast network went right to an episode of “The Voice,” while its 24-hour sports TV channel, NBC Sports Network, showed a rugby match.

The year before, Fox wrapped up its Super Bowl telecast and moved into an episode of “Glee,” leaving ESPN and NFL Network to handle the postgame masses.

Rendering shows CBS’s Jackson Square set.
Rendering: CBS
It’s been an annual tradition for the Super Bowl’s host broadcasters. Once the trophy presentation ends, every broadcaster has focused on entertainment programming, leaving millions of avid sports fans to look elsewhere for highlights and analysis from the game.

This year, those fans still will have to click away for postgame analysis, since CBS plans to run an episode from the drama series “Elementary” after the game.

But this year, CBS is hoping much of the audience that clicks away will stay in the family. It is producing its own postgame show through its cable channel, CBS Sports Network, which is in 48 million homes. CBS Sports Network’s postgame show will feature the broadcaster’s highest-profile talent, James Brown, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason, and will be heavily promoted during the Super Bowl broadcast. It will start as soon as CBS’s Super Bowl coverage ends, and is slated to last one hour, though it could run longer, CBS executives said.

“This really is a new world for CBS Sports,” said David Berson, executive vice president of CBS Sports and president of the CBS Sports Network. “We now are able to showcase big events across many different platforms.”

In addition to the postgame show, CBS Sports Network is planning a week’s worth of shows from a set in Jackson Square. All told, it plans to produce more than 50 hours of programming from New Orleans. The cable channel’s anchor program this week will be “Super Bowl Live,” which Greg Gumbel will host Tuesday through Friday from 7-9 p.m. ET. It also is producing a two-hour afternoon show called “Inside the Super Bowl” that will run Monday to Friday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

The newly launched CBS Radio will have a big presence on Radio Row during the week. And CBSSports.com will have a set at Jackson Square for its coverage, which will include three daily shows: “Live at Jackson Square,” “Road to the Draft” and “Best of Radio Row.”

Importantly for CBS Sports brass, the network’s on-air talent will appear across all these platforms.

CBS joins an already crowded marketplace that will see NFL Network produce more than 140 hours of programming from 11 sets and ESPN produce more than 20 hours from up to five sets in New Orleans.

“Our motto has been that we have everything but the game,” said Seth Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer. “We’ve always attacked it as being the first to come and the last to leave. Now we have more competition around it.”

ESPN’s main set will be in the French Quarter area of New Orleans. Its TV reports will focus less on game strategy early in the week, Markman said. Instead, it will devote stories to the history of New Orleans since 2002, the last time the city hosted a Super Bowl. Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005.

“We don’t want to X-and-O people from the beginning. We want to set the scene from New Orleans,” Markman said.

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