CBS is using an "All gnu?" campaign to promote the return of new episodes (get it?) of its Monday night comedies starting March 17. Those would be Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and New Adventures of Old Christine.
CBS said in a release that it thought it was the first-ever use of a wildebeest in a network promotion. Cute, but not accurate according to a spokesman for the all animal, all the time network, Discovery’s Animal Planet.
In March 2007, Animal Planet aired a show, Trek: Spy On the Wildebeest, for which it aired a wildebeest-featuring promo, she said triumphantly.
First or not, the gnu would seem a surprisingly appropriate beast for a network promo on comedies considering the sounds it makes, which would make it a hit on any laugh track. "They constantly emit low moans, and if disturbed, snort explosively," says a squib on the animal from, sorry CBS, Animal Planet’s Web site.
A CBS spokeswoman had not returned a call at press time–likely having better things to do–but the exact hyperbolic quote was ""We also believe this is the first use of a wildebeest in network promotion." That could give it wiggle room to defend the statement by saying they were talking about a promo for a network, rather than a network promo for a show/shows. But that would be splitting gnu hairs in my opinion.
Wildebeest are also known for massive migrations, in which case CBS is hoping it is toward, not away from, Monday night.