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CBS's Crowded Studio

Like lots of other folks, today I spent part of the day welcoming in the new NFL season by checking out some games on TV. Since the only team I follow anymore is the Steelers, and that game wasn't on out here, my watching the Bills-Bronco's game was really just a way to kill time until the half-time scores and highlights show.

Anyway, once the half-time highlight show did start I noticed something. The CBS halftime shows has five people on it. Five of them. James Brown is the host, and he's accompanied by Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino.

For the unfamiliar, each of these guys (other than Brown) are former NFL player and/ or coaches. All five of them sit in the studio and provide "analysis" on the various games going on. Unfortunately because the halftime show is short and only person can talk at a time, this means that each of these experts talks for about 30 seconds before their time is up.

So anyway, I was watching this and started scratching my head on it. First off, I'm quite sure that each of these five guys came at a pretty good price tag. So the decision to hire them all was not a cheap one.

Second, what is the value of having five experts, each of whom gets essentially zero air time? Wouldn't it be beter to have one, may two of these guys - get them talking for more than 30 seconds so that they can bond with the audience? If nothing else it's by far the cheaper approach.

And does having each of these guys in the studio in any way help audience acquisition? Does anybody really think to themselves - gee, I'm going to watch the games on CBS today because their pre-game/ half-time team is the best? Don't people tune into the pre-game/ half-time show of the actual game they want to see?

So why do they do it then? Why five guys? Does it help the brand? Does it make it easier to sell ads? Is it for better PR? Is there any metrics for any of this? To me, it sure seems like overkill, financial and otherwise. One thing is for certain though, it is yet another indication of the fat margins television works with, for now.


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Comments (2)


I agree. It was a complete disaster at halftime. Guys talking over each other, messing up highlights, they looked lost. I switched to golf.

Good post - Yeah, you'd at least think they'd mix it up a bit - but it's 2 QBs, a TE (so 3 offensive players) and an ex-coach. They need to at least add some defensive talent to the mix.

I hear LT is looking for work...

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