TV Writers Must Sell, Sell, Sell

http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,69775,00.html

Stumble stolen from the terrifically talented rockstar Gaz. Thumbs-down to the concept of product placement, thumbs-up to Wired for reporting it. I’m a TV snob, preferring most things British not only because of superior writing and acting, but also for the (so far) lack of invasive crap like this. At what point does a show cease to become a show and devolve into an ad interrupted by 3 4-minute advertising breaks?

The use of product placements has increased 84 percent on television in the last year, according to the WGA’s call for regulations. “There is no clear line separating a TV show from an advertisement anymore,” said Carrie McLaren, editor of Stay Free magazine.

In a recent episode of the NBC series Medium, writers had to work the movie Memoirs of a Geisha into the dialogue three times because of a deal the network made with Sony earlier in the season. They even had the characters go on a date to an early screening of the movie and bump into friends who had just viewed Geisha to tell them how good it was.

Another product placement intruded a touching scene on ABC’s soap opera, All My Children, when writers were forced to incorporate a line about a new Wal-Mart perfume into the dialogue as a character, Greenlee, sat at the bedside of her husband who was suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.

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