Trying to Stay Positive

By Erik Sorenson 

Last week – in the spirit of the upcoming holidays and year-end – I committed to posting a series of positive blogs about the traditional network powers. To be honest, it was pretty easy to be positive for one day, but a whole week is a different matter. By the time this is over, I’ll probably be a mess. But the response has been good so far, so I’ll keep soldiering on. This week, ABC is in the subject:

1) Prime-time 18-49 – even though Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and Brothers & Sisters are getting a little long in the tooth (see, I told you it’s hard to stay positive) ABC’s Prime Time programming continues to be innovative and popular in the key demographic. In the spirit of Lost, program chief Steve McPherson keeps putting it out there, adding V and Flash Forward this season. Like CBS, the alphabet network also features measured but strong reality, especially with the hit Dancing with the Stars;

2) Nightline – everyone dismissed David Westin when he unveiled a four-anchor, multi-topic version of Roone’s original killer app against Leno and Letterman, but Nightline has done well, especially on breaking news nights, and particularly this fall thanks to NBC’s shift of Leno to 10pm;

3) ESPN on ABC – the leader in sports programming, a cable channel, has been beautifully integrated on the broadcast platform. Along with MSNBC, this stands as a terrific example of how to synergize a cable property with a broadcast network. Whether college football, golf or the NBA, Disney makes certain that both brands benefit and that the audience is moved gracefully back and forth.

4) Oprah & Early News – after 25+ years, ABC continues to leverage the Oprah franchise in most major markets through their owned stations, which gives a back advantage to their early local news and the syndicated programming that follows. Cable and internet competition has siphoned off some of their ratings, to be sure, but in most markets early, ABC is still the king.

Next week – the “newcomers” – Fox and The CW.

Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of, Inc. He oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company, including ShopTalk & TVSPY. If you would like to comment on Remote Control, or want to reach Erik, email remotecontrol@tvspy.