TBS Strategic Opportunities - April 2009



TBS loves its off-net, off-pay TV, and original half-hour comedy series.  FAMILY GUY and THE OFFICE are key to attracting core young male viewers. The focus right now is on original series with franchises such as HOUSE OF PAYNE, THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW and MY BOYS.

At the 2009/2010 upfront presentation, TBS' original programming chief Michael Wrigh outlined the network's goals / positioning. "By dedicating ourselves to comedy and building a foundation with some of the best comedies on television, TBS has become younger and more diverse. TBS is also dedicated to quality, original programming. We are working with great comedy talent to create shows that complement our lineup of acquired series."


There is a publicized push for comedy series "for the whole family" in primetime. However, it's the outrageous comedy of FAMILY GUY that is propping up the network But no matter how funny you are, unless you're a studio or a top name talent, TBS is probably not your target..


TBS continues to go after the best comedy series available from both broadcast and cable, becoming a natural second home for hit sitcoms.


TBS does not accept unsolicited submissions.  Your best bet is to get yourself a lawyer or agent.


TBS has expanded their comedy festival coverage and led the rebirth of sitcoms on cable. With a slate of programming successes and record growth, TBS is able to attract top talent to its programs,

TBS plans to expand its late night presence, and has a slew of late night comedies in development, and a George Lopez talk show in the works.  Michael Wright has said "We see late-night as a real growth opportunity."  While he said Comedy Central and MTV have "sort of cornered the market" on "snarky" shows aimed at young men, TBS is looking to offer "feel-good" comedy for the late-20s, date-night movie audience. The "everyman" or "blue-collar" brand of humor seems to resonate best with TBS audiences. ENGVALL in particular fills a void left by the diminishing number of feel-good family sitcoms on the air.

Last year, The Hollywood Reporter said "The sitcom isn't dead; it has just moved to cable." Cable is the perfect place for the sitcom's comeback, according to TBS' original programming chief Michael Wright. "Because we don't have to aggregate the same size audience as (the broadcast networks) do, we have greater freedom to pursue different forms and grow the audience," he says. But the broadcast pendulum has swung, and the networks are producing more single and multi-camera sitcoms than in the past. Look for TBS to face stiffer competition from the networks in the Fall.


E-mail CableU feedback on our observations at info@cableu.tv