CBS Channels Snarkiness

CBS recently served a side of snark to ABC — press release style. CBS posted an official “fake” news release announcing a “new” show in development called Dancing on the Stars. The jab is a nod to the network’s legal battle where CBS asserts that ABC ripped off its network’s reality show Big Brother with The Glass House.

I wasn’t surprised to see the move — considering that CBS is trying to channel Generation Z. A New York Times article discussed how CBS hired hip reporters on 60 Minutes to court younger viewers.

But the tone of the press release made me envision high-powered guys in suits throwing a modern-day temper tantrum. I didn’t even find it that funny (FOX could have given them some pointers). Although I’m sure the real funny material was deleted through the proofing process. I give CBS credit for taking a risk, but an official news release isn’t the right medium for snark. Social media is.

In the public relations world, we’re notorious for saying what we would have done (hindsight is 20/20). So here’s my take:

Since former Big Brother cast members love publicity, I would have had a few of them “pitch” CBS network shows as obvious ABC rip-offs and post on YouTube. I also would have posted it on a Twitter account that would be the “official unofficial legal gripe Twitter feed of CBS.” That way, the feud could still be funny, but it wouldn’t need to bother with the network’s press releases.

With the lines already so blurred in traditional media … and newsrooms being notoriously understaffed and unable to fact-check the way they used to … and people going to multiple sources for news … it’s best to keep some things like company “news rooms,” for lack of a better word, sacred.

Doreen Overstreet enjoys both Big Brother and 60 Minutes. And always a little smart snark. Amy Spoor, a longtime Linda Costa Communications Group PR employee, also contributed to the post.


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