CSI, The Good Wife, NCIS, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men: the CBS network leads in primetime ratings with this stellar program line-up, under the direction of Kelly Kahl, Comm Arts alumn, and CBS Senior Executive Vice President for Primetime. For the last six years, selected Comm Arts majors have enjoyed an unrivaled opportunity to experience what goes into planning and scheduling at the top-rated network. Mr. Kahl initiated the CBS Network Programming Summer Internship for UW students in 2006. A $2500 stipend from the Communication Arts Internship fund helps to offset expenses for students who are selected. The internship is based in the Program Planning and Scheduling Department at CBS Television in Hollywood. This department decides time periods for all CBS television programs, specials, and movies, and shapes the schedule for the entire CBS television network. According to Mr. Kahl, “Our department is the hub for programming information at CBS,” working with program development, current programming, research, media relations, sales, marketing, news, sports, and more, on a daily basis. “Our hope is that this internship will give the selected student the opportunity to see a broad cross-section of a television network.” Responsibilities might include maintaining and distributing network calendars, logging network promotions, and tracking ratings performance of CBS programs. But more than that, it’s about learning the business of television from the inside.
The CBS intern is selected in a competitive process. Each applicant must write two short essays, demonstrating knowledge of television programming and viewing habits. “Essentially we’re looking for a TV junkie – someone who has strong opinions about TV series and several favorite shows,” says Kahl. Apparently there is no shortage of such people in Comm Arts. Each year more than 30 students apply; Kahl himself selects the winner after faculty winnow the applicants down to four or five. Last year’s intern, Daniel Brower, called it “an absolutely incredible experience…They have been great at exposing me to as many different aspects of the television business as possible.” Though he had been interested in production before the internship, the experience convinced him that the executive and managerial side of television is his true direction. “Through this internship I have been given an excellent window onto the industry – now I have a much better knowledge of my interests and what direction to pursue.” Emily Coleman, a senior double majoring in Management and Comm Arts, was the CBS intern in summer 2010. She recalls, “My CBS internship through Kelly Kahl was an invaluable experience that opened my eyes to the immense scope of the television industry. Kelly ensured that I got exposure to each department by setting up opportunities for me to both interview and shadow various people throughout CBS. Beyond industry experience, I gained great connections that I hope to leverage once I graduate. I cannot express how important this internship was to my career aspirations and how much I appreciate it.” All interested Comm Arts students should see Mary Rossa, departmental advisor, for information on how to apply for the CBS Summer internship, as well as many other internships available both during the summer and the school year.