If you've been noticing a little bit less of SpongeBob on Nickelodeon, Snooki on MTV, or Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central, it's by design: Viacom is squeezing more commercials into every hour of programming. That's the bad news. The worse news is that it's not working.
Viacom demonstrated the power of cost-cutting Thursday when it reported fourth-quarter and year-end earnings. Despite a continuing swoon in ad revenues and disappointing video game sales, it posted a Q4 profit of $694 million, more than quadruple what it earned the year before.