Ad Rates Rule Scheduling and Cancellations

TAMPA, FLA.: NBC cancelled cop drama “Southland” after one season even though the series was critically acclaimed and building a following. Eric Deggans of The St. Petersburg Times explains why in his media blog.

“‘Dateline NBC’s’ 9 p.m. Friday edition, where ‘Southland’ would have aired, gets $55,270 per 30 seconds, just $4,000 behind 20-year cop series ‘Law & Order’ at 8 p.m. the same night,” Deggans said. “Which means ‘Southland’ wasn’t going to earn much more in ad revenue, despite per-episode costs which might be double ‘Dateline’s’ expenses.”

Deggans said whenever he walked into a classroom to talk about TV, he started by drawing a dollar sign on the blackboard.

“That’s because most of the moves in TV, no matter how boneheaded, are usually traced to money,” he said.

Friday’s prime time is a bit of a misnomer compared to other days of the week, Deggans noted. No shows on Friday evening earn more than $100,000 per 30-second spot. By comparison, CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” on Monday gets $226,635. The figures come from AdAge, which calculated them based on upfront deals by seven media buyers.

Football remains the money machine of TV. College games ABC’s Saturday night college roster demands an average of $140,080 per 30 seconds. NBC’s Sunday night NFL telecasts pull in $339,700--the most expensive time in prime, though down from last year’s $434,792, AdAge said.

Jay Leno’s show on NBC has some of the lowest rates in prime, with a high of $65,578 on Tuesdays and a low of $48.803 on Fridays. Deggans noted how the day of the week affected rates.

“Sundays are big TV nights because they attract the most viewers,” he said. “Thursdays are important nights because of advertising for weekend events such as movie openings.”