Isn't It Cheesy for CBS to Promote 'Without A Trace' In News Segments?

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.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis