CBS’s Sunday Beltway show “Face The Nation,” which began testing a one-hour format in the spring, will adopt that format permanently, CBS News president David Rhodes announced Sunday at Summer TV Press Tour 2012.
Rhodes noted that, in its expanded format, Bob Schieffer-anchored “Face” has hit No. 1 ranking among Sunday Beltway shows.
That said, Nielsen is rating the first half-hour of the show, because the two half hours air as a continuous hour in just 69 percent of the country.
Rhodes noted one of the problems getting greater clearances on that second half-hour is that station execs weren’t sure if the additional programming was temporary or permanent. Sunday’s announcement is intended to signal those station suits the one-hour show will be available for the long haul, Rhodes said.
In the fall, CBS has the “high-class problem” of sport franchises that conflict with a one hour “Face” format, “particularly when you get west of the Mississippi,” Rhodes said.
“What we want to do is put on a program that attracts a loyal audience, which Bob has, and make that available whenever stations are available to take it,” he continued.”
Moving to a one-hour format, “we’ve had more people coming to us, wanting to be on the program than, in some cases, we can handle,” he said. “And guests,” he added, “are what drive those Sunday programs.”