Linda Rene, CBS veteran left 'Survivor’ to join big brands

Linda Rene was once instrumental in weaving blue-chip advertisers like Anheuser-Busch and General Motors into a CBS reality competition called „Survivor.” After two decades, he plans to leave the island.

René is an advertising-sales veteran who has worked at CBS for more than four decades. Helped to expand the industry practice called Product Placement Advertisers not only offer vehicles and drinks as set dressing, but weaving their products into a show is key in shaping new deals. Marketers were able to cut deals with CBS that guaranteed a significant presence on shows like „The Amazing Race” or „NCIS.”

Now, Rene plans to leave at the end of 2023 after serving as head of primetime advertising sales and brand partnerships for CBS and its successor, Paramount Global, the company confirmed Friday.

„Linda has broken new ground in the way we do business and has taught, motivated and inspired those she has worked with,” Jo Ann Rose and John Hawley, Paramount’s chairman and president of advertising sales operations, said in a memo to employees. They added: “Linda’s deep sense of integrity made her an invaluable resource to the many advertising and CBS production clients she called upon in a business that demanded mutual respect. He was the architect of some of the earliest, deepest and longest lasting multi-year client partnerships we have today.

Rene joined CBS on January 4, 1983 as manager of sales planning on the West Coast after a few years at Omnicom advertising agency DTP. While there, he began working with film studios such as Universal and 20th Century Fox on its major productions of movies and shows. One of his clients took a job at CBS and urged Rene to join. By 1986, she had moved to the East Coast to work as an account manager for the network’s advertising sales team—a traditionally male-dominated position.

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Under Rene, CBS continued to develop key ways to convert advertisers into programs. On the set of „The Late Late Show with James Corden,” the network put on a full bar sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, then Heineken. In 2013, CBS found a way to drag Microsoft devices and Toyota vehicles into a city. General Motors’ Chevrolet became the exclusive auto sponsor of CBS’ „Hawaii Five-0” and the series’ heroes drove its cars. Google and Philips Electronics have been able to help series such as „The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and „60 Minutes,” while earning praise for helping make the feat possible.

Of course, CBS will be a little more aggressive in practice. In one oft-cited example, the network allowed Subway to shoot an entire scene on „Five-0,” which included references to its sandwiches in the conversation. Why watch ads when ads are put on the show? Overall, though, CBS strives for organic looks that don’t detract from entertainment.

Rene’s exit is the first of a close-knit group of longtime advertising-sales executives who have worked at CBS for decades. The Redstone family’s National Amusements Inc. When the company was merged with Viacom, a corporate sibling controlled by Viacom, the group remained, though some were given new responsibilities to keep the industry struggling to keep ad dollars flowing even as television audiences moved. For streaming and digital viewing.

The executive’s departure marks the end of an era for many of us who were fortunate enough to work with this trailblazer for our company and our industry,” Ross and Hawley said in their note.

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