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CBS' strong ratings help bring in higher ad dollars

June 8, 2010 |  3:24 pm

SHATNER CBS says it's finished selling advertising time for the fall television season while rivals ABC and NBC expect to be done before the end of the week.

Unlike last year's "upfront," which dragged on until August, business is brisk despite concerns about the economy recovery. Typically, networks try to sell about 80% of their commercial inventory in the so-called upfront advertising market. The rest is sold during the television season in what is known as the scatter market.

CBS declined to comment on specifics regarding upfront sales. Last year, the network took in about $2.2 billion. This year its take could reach $2.6 billion, a person familiar with the situation said. Advertising Age reported that CBS would sell $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion, which would represent an increase of 15% to 17% from 2009. CBS sold about 65% of its advertising inventory last year, but this year will sell closer to 80%, people close to the matter said.

With strong ratings and some highly anticipated new shows, including a remake of "Hawaii Five-0" and the comedy "$#*! My Dad Says" starring William Shatner, CBS is expected to take in the most advertising among the broadcast networks. It fetched increases of about 9% in commercials ad rates.

Last week, Fox and the CW wrapped up their upfront sales. Fox took in about $1.9 billion while the smaller CW sold roughly $380 million in commercial time, according to industry observers.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: William Shatner from in CBS's new series "$#*! My Dad Says." Credit: Ron P. Jaffe / CBS Broadcasting