Sunday, May 22, 2011
Everybody Freeze - It's A Raid!!!
In 1947-48 CBS honcho Bill Paley performed a major talent raid in Hollywood at the NBC studios 2 blocks away. In addition to Benny, the other defectors included Amos and Andy (proudly cited in the above ad) The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, Red Skelton and The Burns and Allen Show! This little maneuver would, for the first time, land CBS at the top of the ratings battle.
How'd he do it? Does the phrase, "You'd sell your own name!" ring a bell? CBS would buy the stars' names as a property, in exchange for a huge lump sum and a smaller salary. Since the tax structure on capital gains (the name sale) was a much lower rate than on income (the smaller salary portion of the deal) the talent benefited by double. And there was no concern about NBC doing a reverse raid because now CBS owned these peoples' names!
**The above image was supplied by my new pal Raul Moreno who has a fantastic page for CBS Columbia Square Alumni.