Just to get things started on a Friday, "The Early Show" on CBS had a segment on Milwaukee's missing Alexis Patterson, who was something of a cause celebre a few years back for being the barely known black girl that proved the Only Missing White Girls Matter rule. But CBS used graphics for the story with the words "Without A Trace." Repeatedly.
While that may describe the Patterson case, they also ape the title of a hit CBS Thursday night program. What next? What CBS shows lend themselves most easily to cross-promotional graphic word play?
The easy list: Close to Home, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, Out of Practice, Still Standing, Yes Dear.
The would-never-work list: Numb3rs, The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Okay, now I'm not a regular CBS entertainment watcher, but Hillary Profita on the CBS News "Public Eye" website explains how the "Without A Trace" feature is a follow-up from the Thursday night drama:
During “Without A Trace,” viewers are shown a photograph of a real missing person – “The Early Show” produces a piece about that person (or persons.) While it’s tied in to a CBS show, senior executive producer of “The Early Show,” Michael Bass doesn’t view it as a promotional vehicle, but a public service. “It’s mentioned and identified with ‘Without A Trace’ because it’s on CBS -- people saw the slide of a missing person the previous night,” Bass told me. Beyond that, said Bass, it’s a “self-contained piece” that makes the public aware of a missing person.
Profita included those segments as she counted the number of cross-promotional morning show items, and noticed it increases in ratings "sweeps" periods:
Over the course of the week, “The Early Show” spent a total of about 41 minutes of programming on segments with tie-ins to other CBS entertainment shows. Compare that to a total of approximately 24 minutes spent on similar segments during the first week of April.