Programming

New Boss Tees Up Changes At Golf Channel

McCarley draws on NBCU resources and personalities 2/04/2011 02:58:48 PM Eastern

NBC Sports
wasted little time putting its stamp on the Golf Channel.

In his first week
as the new president of the Golf Channel, Mike McCarley drew on NBCUniversal
personalities and resources, including CNBC and the Weather Channel.

Golf Channel
came under the NBCU umbrella when its owner, Comcast, acquired control of NBCU
on Jan. 28. Over the weekend, the channel began running five-second IDs that
let viewers know "You're watching the Golf Channel, now powered by NBC Sports."

During the network's
five-week-old morning show, The Morning
Drive
, a CNBC business report was added.

"The audiences
between CNBC and the Golf Channel are very similar, very affluent, very
influential hard-to-reach C-suite executives," said McCarley, who had been
senior VP for strategic marketing, promotion and communications for NBC Sports.
"CNBC seems to be for work and the Golf Channel for play, so we created CNBC
business breaks."

When a desert
chill delayed the start of the Phoenix Open golf tournament Thursday, the
channel drew on coverage from The Weather Channel, owned by a group led by
NBCU.

"There are
resources available within the new, larger company that we'll deploy when it's
appropriate and when it makes sense for the audience," McCarley said. "We're
never going to stray from the core of the mission, which is to serve the
viewer, the golf fan. But when it makes sense, we'll be able to use the
resources of the overall company to help make it better."

Some NBC
personalities also appeared on Morning
Drive
last week, including NFL announcers Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
and Tony Dungy, who talked Super Bowl in addition to their golf games, and Today show host Matt Lauer.

"We wanted to
make a bit of a statement this week, for sure," McCarley said, adding that
before he considered making substantial changes at the network, he'll be
spending time talking to the current staffers who contributed to a
record-setting January.

The network had
15 million total viewers in the month, up 1 million from a year ago. Average
viewership was up 41%.

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