BC Beat

Upfronts 2010: $#*! David Poltrack Says

5/19/2010 07:17:36 PM

By now it should come as no surprise that CBS executives used the network’s upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall May 19 to tout the power of broadcast television. (Click here for complete upfront coverage.)

But CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves and entertainment president Nina Tassler made sure that advertisers gathered for the presentation knew that all broadcast is not created equal.

Both took shots at NBC, which will launch more than a dozen new shows next season in a dramatic about-face from its 2009 Jay Leno-induced moratorium on scripted programming at 10 p.m.

“A year ago some of our competitors said the business model was broken and needed to be reinvented,” said Moonves. “Well I guess they’ve come back.”

Moonves crowed about CBS’ consistently popular shows including this year’s Super Bowl and NCIS, which he said will be watched by more people this season than Avatar, the top-grossing movie of all time.

“Only one thing powers the media business,” he said, “and that is great content.”

Tassler talked up the network’s remake of Hawaii Five-0, advising that it was not in fact a “remake” but a “re-boot” featuring an “incredibly sexy cast.”

And she stressed that all of CBS’ new shows will have the benefit of strong lead-ins from established series. “We don’t have a million new shows, and we’re not asking any of them to be self-starters,” she said.

The presentation also included a humorous mix video of CBS research guru David Poltrack’s exchange last February with Forrester Research analyst David Cooperstein. The video, set to a hip-hop soundtrack, featured Poltrack’s head on a dancing body along with the real audio of Poltrack extolling the strength of the TV ad market and asserting Forrester’s numbers showing a decline was “bullshit.”

“When Poltrack says it’s bullshit,” said Moonves. “You can take that to the bank.”

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