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August 25, 2008

NBC: Fall awareness up after Olympics

NBC's marketing chief John Miller said all those ads for the network's fall shows that aired during the Beijing Olympics are paying off.

Miller said internal tracking shows that viewers awareness of the network's fall lineup is up 59% after the Games.

"This is really above our expectations," he said. "We've seen gains in nearly every one of our shows. In almost every category we look at we see growth in awareness and intent-to-view."

Audience awareness of "Knight Rider" is tracking the highest, which was expected due to the remake’s name recognition. But Miller says he has also seen significant bumps for comedy "Kath & Kim" and the Christian Slater drama "My Own Worst Enemy." Among returning shows, Miller said the heavily promoted "Heroes" received a significant increase.

Whether all this improved awareness actually results in increased ratings remains to be seen. Four years ago, NBC tried debuting its fall shows right after the Games, which didn't prove particularly effective. At the time, the shows had received a 40% Olympic boost in awareness, Miller said.

This round, the network is trying a more staggered approach. New reality show "America's Toughest Jobs" premieres Monday, and "America's Got Talent" resumes Tuesday. But the bulk of NBC's new shows debut in October.

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