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CBS's Fall Schedule, From the Chicken's Butt to Your TV Screen

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The term "scrambled signals" is about to take on new meaning. CBS is announcing today that it has discovered a new medium to advertise its fall schedule on: your breakfast. Namely, millions of chicken eggs, on which it plans to stencil numerous corny promos for its shows. (To wit: "Crack the Case on CBS," for CSI.)

The technology apparently involves laser-imprinting the logo and slogans onto the eggshells, though I prefer to imagine it as a combination of advanced genetic modification and forcing chickens to watch episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine in their tiny wire cages. (Whole Foods customers would be able to choose eggs from free-range chickens who watch Frontline.)

There’s a serious, well semi-serious, issue behind this goofy promo idea. The networks are still wed to a system of launching most of their high-profile shows at roughly the same time in the fall, but with so many media products competing for attention in so many media outlets, you apparently cannot find a good place to grab people’s attention anymore without looking up a chicken’s egg shooter. You’d think the solution would be to move even more toward year-round programming, allowing good shows a better chance to stand out, but both the ratings calendar and the entrenched system of selling billions of fall ads at once at the spring upfronts militate against it.

So until someone finds a better way to fix the network television business, it’s Two and a Half Men blurbs over easy for you. Whacking an egg against the side of a frying pan has never been so satisfying.