Get Ready for CBS was an advertising slogan used on the CBS Television Network for their 1989 and 1990 season campaigns. It was launched at the time when CBS, under network president Laurence Tisch, was slowly faltering in the Nielsen ratings overall, placing next-to-last place just ahead of young network Fox. Under Tisch, CBS had developed a stodgy, "over the hill" image in its programming, largely due to the older, middle-aged-to-elderly demographic brought in by such shows as Murder, She Wrote, Newhart, and the long-running dramas Dallas and Falcon Crest, for instance. The Get Ready campaigns were part of the strategy to gain younger viewers while keeping the traditional audience intact.

1989-90 Image Campaign

The first Get Ready campaign was ambitious, with an unusual (up to that time) ploy to rebuild CBS' audience. The motif of the 1989 promos was featuring CBS stars in a remote studio preparing for photo shoots, with a gray and silver wall backdrop constantly surrounding them. The main full-length promo features random people in sunny location settings in anticipation, looking onward, (as the theme lyrics imply) for the new season on CBS. A man is seen carrying a woman in his arms by the roadside while a long, big-rig truck with the Get Ready logo posted three times on its side (with multicolored backgrounds) passes by them. The CBS eye is printed in black o

CBS ident showing the slogan "Get Ready for CBS" (1989-1990 version)

n the back door of the truck. This is followed by the view of a woman opening a door to the remote studio, where the network stars interact with each other during the photo shoots. In between show clips (of both new and returning shows), the stars often say or ask, "Are you ready?" "I'm ready" "Get ready already" or "Get ready!" in unison. Sportscaster John Madden, then with CBS, was a running gag throughout the promos. He often said to everyone "I'm not ready yet", or "I'm still not ready". At the end of the full-length promo, Madden crashes out of the CGI Get Ready logo, shouting "I'm ready! Hey, where'd everyone go?", as being the last one to be ready.

The promos, in various length and forms, were run heavily over the summer of 1989 and into the fall, to improve the ratings. In addition, CBS went into partnership with Kmart department stores to aid in the effort. Together, they launched the "CBS/Kmart Get Ready Giveaway", a bonanza that encouraged people to turn to CBS to win a variety of prizes. They included a dream vacation, a brand new Dodge Caravan, and a huge cash prize. Viewers were able to participate by picking up a circular at any Kmart location, with all the prize information and a given number inside. The number had to be matched by the one announced on TV the nights that the Giveaway was being played (during the primetime lineups). The contest began on CBS' September premiere week and ended October 7, 1989, marking the first time an American broadcast network teamed with a major national retailer to encourage viewership.

Local versions of the 1989 campaign:

Reaction of Kmart tie-in

Although media insiders applauded CBS' new promotional effort, they criticized the involvement with Kmart. Some were noted to say that it was officially the end of the "Tiffany Network era", and that they were selling out to discount-store America in a ploy to get viewers. Despite the reactions, the tie-in helped; not only were there some winners around the country, but the combined tactics of the Get Ready campaign helped raise CBS' fall viewership ratings by 20%.

1990-91 Image Campaign with The Temptations

When CBS decided to keep their Get Ready campaign for a second year, they decided to use The Temptations' classic 1966 hit "Get Ready" as the jingle. So, as a result, the network managed to pull the legendary Motown group out of retirement to do a new version of the song. The 1990 version of "Get Ready" had the lyrics tailor made for CBS and its shows, along with an updated musical arrangement, featuring guitar and saxophone solos.

The main promos featured the Temptations performing before an artsy, animated backdrop, along with the network stars dancing along to the song. In the beginning parts, the stars would pose in an animated picture frame or square cutout, with a smaller video inset below them of another star holding up colorful placards wit

CBS ident slogan year two of with The Temptations version of The 60's (1990-1991)

h the lyrics of "Get Ready" (more specifically, the "fiddly-dee, fiddly-dum" parts). Other parts, and variations, had many CBS stars bursting out of doors doing crazy poses and gestures. The casts of individual shows posed together, in real-life sets with vibrant designs. A notable running motif is the appearance of Candice Bergen, whose soulful wail begins the song; during the promos, she is seen singing with the Temptations, dressed in a matching blue suit, as if she were a member of the group. (similar to John Madden's running gag the previous year). This gag was most likely a nod to Bergen's hit sitcom Murphy Brown frequently guest starring classic Motown acts such as Aretha Franklin; and the spring 1990 season finale of Murphy Brown itself, in which the Temptations appeared to sing at the wedding of Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) to Will Forrest (Scott Bryce).

Local versions of 1990's Get Ready for CBS had a generic promo made by the network for the affiliates that chose to use it. The affiliate promos were set in a diner, which, rather surreally, was located inside someone's old fashioned TV set. The "virtual people" inside the TV diner were encountered by images of CBS stars, suddenly popping up. For example, Candice Bergen's face appeared inside someone's coffee cup, while Patrick Duffy and Gerald McRaney were among the people to show up over hanging order checks. Meanwhile, little people outside the TV were invited to come inside the diner by local affiliate personalities waving and motioning them (they appeared on the giant TV screen). The middle of the promo featured both affiliate and syndicated stars dancing to "Get Ready" (with the same Temptations version used in the national promos). For the affiliate branding, the following would occur: the station's call letters would be pressed on a jukebox selection; the station logo would appear inside an empty coffee pot; and at the end, the logo would appear in the night sky under a full moon in the shape of the CBS eye.

There was one common thread between both years' Get Ready affiliate promos. In 1989, the WCBS-TV version (only) had a flying remote with the CBS 2 logo printed on the bottom, which zapped on TV sets in the promo. For the generic 1990 affiliate promos, the flying remote was used once again all across the board, which zapped the images of CBS stars over the random objects in the diner. In year two, instead of an affiliate logo on the remote, the CBS logo appeared by itself.

The 1990 campaign was subsequently adopted by Network Ten (as "That's Entertainment", in 1991), and SBT (as "Se Liga No SBT" {Get Ready for SBT} in 1993).

This is a list of the following stations that aired this generic Get Ready promo:

Ironically, the song was in a 2006 campaign promoting the then-infant network The CW, which in turn was owned by CBS 50%.

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