Interlude (OR And now for something completely different)

June 26, 2008

Wil Wheaton is back from vacation. Apparently, he either left his brain behind, or it’s still drunk on sunshine and surf. Either way, this post is well worth a read:

I was picking tomatoes in my back yard yesterday afternoon when the phone rang. Caller ID said it was my manager. I picked it up and said, “Mister Black! What’s up?”

“Seth Macfarlane wants to work with you tomorrow,” he said.

The next thing I knew, I was looking into the concerned faces of my wife and kids, while a machine behind me went ping!

“What happened?” I said.

“You answered the phone, screamed like a little girl, and fainted,” Anne said.

Life imitates art (OR Someday we’ll all wear billboards)

June 3, 2008

So, after a few days of technical difficulties and a weekend full of ultimate, I’m catching up on my regular podcasts, including Marketplace, which ran this story on Friday:

Nobody who knows [Sex and the City] … is going to be surprised to see the stars carrying brand-name handbags and gushing about brand-name shoes — that’s half of what the show was all about — but working products into plot lines comes with challenge: How to do it without turning off the audience — and the regulators.


The Writers Guild of America wants the FCC to consider requiring some form of disclosure. The Commission is looking at various options. One idea? Each time a product pops up in a script, text would appear on the screen telling viewers they’re watching a paid placement.

Robert Thompson: That would make the irritation that some people already have over this stuff tenfold.

Robert Thompson teaches television and popular culture at Syracuse University.


Frank Zazza [who helped broker one of the most famous product placements of all time: the starring role of Reese’s Pieces in the movie “ET”] sees good product integration as a welcome alternative to the clutter of spot advertising. Wouldn’t you put up with a few more subliminal messages if you never had to see another car commercial?

I just couldn’t help but think that someday, TV will be like The Truman Show…   or worse, “shows” will just become 30 or 60 minute advertisements.