CBS 2 fires marketing exec behind Kurtis comeback ads

October 8, 2010

Jim Corboy

The man who was responsible for efforts to promote the return of Bill Kurtis to WBBM-Channel 2 -- and for commercials that tied news anchors to prime-time entertainment shows -- is out as vice president of marketing at the CBS-owned station.

Jim Corboy was dismissed Thursday after less than 18 months on the job. Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of Channel 2, described the parting as amicable and said he does not plan to fill Corboy's position. Instead, the department will be restructured with the addition of a writer/producer who will report to Vicki Bouchard, director of creative services. "In my view, I just did not need another layer of management in the marketing department," Cohen said.

In addition to the irreverent advertising campaign Corboy conceived to herald Kurtis' comeback last fall, he and Bouchard worked together on more recent commercials that used Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, Rob Johnson, Kate Sullivan and other Channel 2 news personnel to cross-promote CBS prime-time programs such as "The Good Wife," "The Defenders," "Hawaii Five-O" and "The Mentalist." Readers of this blog were split on the propriety of such commercials.

Cohen said Corboy "did a very good job for us during a period of time that I really needed a vice president of marketing," but that the station's needs had changed. Added Cohen:

"I think he helped us a lot with repositioning the station and trying to deal with some of the negative imaging that the station has had over the last few years. He did a lot of work for us in remediating the prime-time performance of the station, particularly in working with CBS network promotions. As a consequence, our prime-time performance is much better than it was before, not just in terms of ratings, but in terms of the way we index against other CBS stations throughout the country."

Corboy, 54, whose lengthy resume includes work as vice president of creative services for Tribune Entertainment and as director of advertising and promotion at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, had been running his own Chicago-based marketing firm when he was hired at Channel 2 in 2009.‚ Efforts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful.

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