TV producer David E. Kelley is thinking of switching to cable to escape all the ads on broadcast television.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The creator of Emmy-winning legal drama "Boston Legal" said Tuesday he's concerned about the amount of commercial time on primetime TV shows and raised the possibility of working in cable in the future.

"If the commercial encroachment becomes worse, it's probably something that we'll all consider," David E. Kelley told reporters during ABC's portion of the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton. He said he has no plans in cable right now.

Kelley said that when he worked on "L.A. Law," there were 48 minutes of show. That has been reduced over the years to a little more than 41 minutes. Kelley said that makes it tougher to create character-driven stories and tell emotional stories, particularly within the five-act structure that sometimes gives only eight minutes between commercial breaks.

Advertisers should really wonder whether or not the sheer quantity of ads is eliminating their effectiveness. Running more ads and charging the same price for each may work well for the broadcasters, but everyone I know with $5 a month to spare has a TiVo and doesn't watch any of them. If there were, say, 5 or 10 minutes of commercials per hour rather than 20 I might not even bother to skip them or flip the channel.

I'm sure advertisers will get smart eventually and realize that they aren't getting the eyeballs they've been promised. Just like newspapers and magazines have been facing scrutiny recently for inflated circulation numbers, it's only a matter of time before television stations are forced to deal with their own deception. Right now the stations are benefitted by poor measuring tools that don't really reveal what people watch and what they skip, but the same technology that currently helps viewers avoid commercials will eventually also pass that information on to the advertisers.



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