Interesting that two of the broadcast networks aired movies against the Grammys [ABC aired ‘The Blind Side’; NBC aired ‘Fast and Furious 6’]. There is a long history of doing this. Movies once played a big part in the scheduling of a broadcast network, not so much today. I wrote a piece about scheduling movies on my blog “Revenge of the Masked Scheduler” if you want to check it out.

Surprised FOX didn’t hold its powder and save those original animated episodes to fight another day. They are precious.

I promised to follow up my discussion of promo scheduling with a little tale about the tease campaign for “Fringe,” one of my favorite shows while I was at FOX. I brought “Fringe” up in the context of my dislike of tease campaigns that, for me, were a waste of our limited resources.

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There was a decision by our marketing execs to make “Fringe” intriguing by never telling people what it was and, instead keep throwing out these bizarre images of deformities and biological anomalies. If you went on the FOX site to look for information about the show you needed to keep digging until you finally came to a page that described the show … if you were lucky.

When we were testing the print ads for the campaign there was one approach that showed our three heroes looking down at something, their faces showing fear and curiosity. The sky above them had some strange shapes. I felt that this gave the consumer some idea of what this show was … a team investigating weird s**t.

I was heading research as well as scheduling at the time so, although I was told not to test that print ad, I went ahead and included it among all the bizarre approaches. Not surprisingly it blew the other takes out of the water in terms of interest in sampling the show. Yeah, my boss was not happy with me, but it forced them to include that approach in the marketing campaign although the bulk was still spent on the unintelligible approach.

Moral of the story is if you see a promo or a print ad for a new show and you have no idea what the show is, it’s a good bet neither do the network executives.

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Posted by:The Masked Scheduler

The Masked Scheduler is a 35-year veteran of the broadcasting business and a twenty-five year veteran of the prime time scheduling wars. He left the business in 2015 following a “Loser Leaves The Business” match. In addition to providing insights on the TV business for “TV By the Numbers” the Masked Scheduler is a media consultant, blogger and raconteur.