Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They just can't let it go

The other day I noted NBC's recent not-so-subtle foray into the world of product integration and product placement.

My no-duh conclusion is that the networks are trying to find a revenue positive way around the Tivo phenomenon -- that more and more viewers (like me) are skipping commercial breaks thanks to the fast forward button on their DVRs.

And basically, I was okay with it. I even enjoyed the network poking fun at itself in episodes of The Office and 30 Rock.

But c'mon NBC, enough is enough. The network devoted an entire story line in this week's episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (one of my fav shows this year) to justifying to its audience way product placement is necessary and good.

The show featured network exec Jordan McDeere, played by hottie Amanda Peete, lecturing producer Danny Tripp on how placing product ads into the content of the fictional Studio 60 sketch comedy show can help the show save money and jobs.

It was a blatant attempt to guilt the viewing audience into accepting product integration into the television shows.

NBC doesn't seem to realize that this isn't necessary. I like the show because if has interesting characters and excellent writing. And there are plenty of opportunities to introduce product usage into the story lines subtly and effectively.

Explaining it before you do it is just insulting and distasteful. NBC, there are lots of networks and I'm sure all of them face revenues issues. As a viewer, I don't care what your financial problems are.

Put up smart, high-quality content and the revenue will follow. But don't air your dirty in-house problems for the rest of us to see. We have our own, more important things to deal with.

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  1. I actually thought it was Aaron Sorkin fighting that he had to do it. I don't think he likes it any more than the guys at the Office and 30 Rock did, and I think the reason that Danny was so against product integration is because AARON is against it. I don't believe this was advocating integration, but Sorkin's way of not letting his integrity on this issue go gently into that good night of crass commercialism. If he's gonna be forced to do it, he's gonna make DAMN sure you know he didn't want it and WHY. I mean, that's just how I saw it. But that IS how I saw it.

  2. Gina,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    You might have a point, and I might buy into your argument if NBC hadn't focused on product placement the previous week in The Office and 30 Rock.

    But even if it was Sorkin's way kicking and screaming, my point still stands. I'm the audience. I don't need to be privy to the network's internal problems.

    As Michael Corleon would say, they should keep in in the family.

  3. Do you not get the point of the entire plot of Studio 60? It's a drama about the backstage running of a show. How was the product placement issue not appropriate for a storyline?


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