/// NBCUniversal Paid $1.4 Million per Episode to Air Modern Family. Will It Pay Off?
Linda Yaccarino proved that she can sell Modern Family to ad buyers. Now USA Network has to sell it to audiences. After heated negotiations, the NBCUniversal ad sales president fetched double-digit CPM increases versus previous time slot occupant, NCIS. Those higher rates were leavened by the promise that the investment would pay off in spades, and precedent seemed to suggest as much. ( The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy have been huge hits at Turner.) Make no mistake: The addition of Modern Family, which premieres on Sept. 24, is going to be a huge change for USA. In lieu of a schedule that’s long been heavy on a crime dramas, the network will be stripping a zany comedy five nights a week. (In on-air promos for the show, USA’s “Characters Welcome” tagline has been amended to read “Comedy Welcome.”) Thus far, promotion for Modern Family has underwhelmed some observers. “Maybe they’re going to let their schedule of running 18 half hours of it a week speak for itself,” said one agency buyer. “People will notice it’s on because it’s always going to be on.” Per NBCU-speak, Modern Family next month will be a “Gold Priority”—a top-level concern across the entire portfolio, not just USA. Yes, October, even though the show starts at the end of the month. “With an acquired series, you’re not driving to one specific night; we’re in what I like to call franchise-building mode,” explained Alexandra Shapiro, evp of marketing and digital for USA. “Marketing for this is not about Sept. 24