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May 16 2008

Dollhouse to have less in-episode commercials. According to The Hollywood Reporter when an episode of Dollhouse it will only have half the normal level of commercials in an effort by Fox to "redefine the viewing experience".

There is now also an article at Variety which is a little clearer.

Maybe this will help with the people still mischaracterizing FOX as inevitably heading to screw this show over.

ETA: Holy crapola. Five minutes of ads instead of the usual ten or more. That's serious.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-05-15 22:37 ]
This day just keeps getting better and better! Less commercials = more show = more time Eliza is on my TV = more time Amy Acker is on my TV = squeeeeeeee!
Seriously, 5 mins of ads instead of 16/17? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Frak me, this is amazing news if it pans out.
Less commercials will be wonderful. Even more so because Dollhouse is the one show that I plan to watch in real time.

Also, that tentpole comment really gives me hope as to FOX's intentions towards Joss and Dollhouse.

Yay!
I'm trying to work out if this is good or bad. For the viewer its good not to have as many ads (and potentially to have a longer episode?) - but does this mean Dollhouse is going to need even more viewers to justify less ads. Or does it mean it can survive with less than usual as ad time will be more exclusive/expensive?

[ edited by Leaf on 2008-05-15 22:45 ]
Hour-long shows are generally around 40-42 minutes long, which is around 20 minutes of commercials. Where are they getting only 10 minutes of commercials per hour?
Does this mean we are actually going to get almost an hour of television from our "hour" of television? If there's an hour slot, it'd be silly to end it at 8.50pm or something.
That's good news, and I love this quote: "I'm confident that this will become the next tentpole series for Fox," Reilly said.
I think it will be like a normal commercial schedule, just less commercials in a pod. But this is awesome.
Course, it could mean lots and lots of highly intrusive product placement but if not, these guys are totally not the same guys as the Fox of old. Bodes well.
Y'know, if it means every character's cellphone is Verizon and that all regular cast drive Escalade Hybrids...

*that is just fine by me*.
The X Files used to be 45-50 minutes long in an hour. Sounds like Fox is heading back to that type of strategy. It's interesting if it does work because the other networks would have to follow suit. If Fox can retain viewers during commercial breaks while also giving the producers more time to work with... which will inevitably increase "character" moments that would otherwise be cut for time. It could panic the others, cause they are all out to kill each other metaphorically in the ratings.
I'm actually wondering if 24 will get the same treatment, cause it does seem like something born out of the real time format.
Commercial time is broken into three groups. National commercials (this is the ten minutes), local affiliate commercials and network promotions. It sounds like they are cutting back the time on national commercials and the network promotions. it sounds to me like we will be getting 50 minutes of show instead of the usual 42. I am guessing that advertisers will be expected to pay more for ad space on these two shows as it will be a rare commodity.

Good for Fox. This is a great paradigm shift.
I thought the 5 minutes referred to "network" commercials, and that overall commercial time would be cut in half, which would be about 10 minutes total. But it is kind of confusing. I'd imagine they would charge a higher ad rate for more exclusive ads. Interesting idea. More content is always good.
Course, it could mean lots and lots of highly intrusive product placement


Which better be sold overseas otherwise foreign commercial broadcasters won't be touching the show with a bargepole.
You clearly don't watch 'Smallville' Simon - almost makes me want to vandalise the next Toyota Yaris I see, nevermind buy one.

(it's not enough that the character drives one and that we always see the badge several times per show, she has to keep slipping in entirely crappy dialogue about how great it is too. Hence "intrusive")
Oh man! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better. Now we will get MORE Dollhouse, in that each episode will be 55 minutes long! Think what all that additional story-telling time will give us. This news is completely unexpected, and very exciting. It also makes me believe a little more that Fox has faith in this show, or is at least willing to experiment a bit and give something new a chance.

Edit: Or 50 minutes... still not clear if they mean 5 mins total commercials, or if they're simply halving the national commercials. Either way we get more Joss and less interruption so color me pleased.

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2008-05-15 23:03 ]
"I'm confident that this will become the next tentpole series for Fox," Reilly said.

I like that.
I hope the product placement isn't too intrusive, because you know they're going to use some to make up for the commercials not used.
"Heroes" has product placement every two scenes. (Nearly). They even talk about how ace the products are as they use them. I'm serious.
Me too bigsofty, that sentence jumped out at me big time. Love the idea of less commercials. It does make me wonder though if that format doesn't work out on 'Fringe' what does it mean for DH. What happens if there are already numerous episodes in the can at the longer run time and they decide to revert to the old way of doing things - that could mean quite a bit of content would have to be trimmed out of each ep. Hmmm. Here's hoping it works out. It's also great that Fox is talking about DH, scheduled for mid-season, at the upfronts so much. It fosters that hopeful feeling. :)
And fingers crossed that the product placement isn't too obscene, I saw an episode of Smallville a while back and it was ridiculous and intrusive (the product placement that is).
I love that, bigsofty! This show will put Eliza on the A-list!
"I'm confident that this will become the next tentpole series for Fox," Reilly said.


I may be wrong, but I remember hearing quotes about their confidence in Firefly too, and that didn't end up so well.
Imagines walls of Glad stacked behind Eliza and co.

Oh, sorry, wrong show.
TamaraC, I'm with you on this -- potentially huge as the first nudge of a paradigm shift. There's a long way to go, but Fox is at least facing in the right direction.
Hee, Caroline, not on this show!!! It'll be Hefty for sure, much more action-oriented. ;)
Okkay, does zeitgeist need to come post about Reilly and his development resume again?
Okkay, does zeitgeist need to come post about Reilly and his development resume again?

It's going to be a very long eight months or so.
It does make me wonder though if that format doesn't work out on 'Fringe' what does it mean for DH. What happens if there are already numerous episodes in the can at the longer run time and they decide to revert to the old way of doing things - that could mean quite a bit of content would have to be trimmed out of each ep.

Advertisers will have already bought commercial time by then. They're going to want to get what they paid for, or else the network will pay for it. So I doubt they'll change the plan part way through.
I'm really starting to believe that Reilly and his team really are doing their best to make Dollhouse all it can be. Never would've thought it after the Firefly debacle, but good on Fox. Less ads equals more fun time. I do worry about the fact that less ads means that there might be more pressure on the show to do well, but, hey, if Fox is calling this a 'tentpole series' give me confidence.
Are tentpole series shows that give marketing men a stiffy?
Less Commercials = Good!
Fewer commercials for these two shows. I hope the idea works and it catches on.
Thank christ, i've been itching to point that out palehorse - to the extent that I actually had to stop reading the headline it was bugging me so much ;).
Are tentpole series shows that give marketing men a stiffy?

Oh, good, someone went there, sparing me the chore of doing so myself.
I don't have much to offer here, so I'm happy to be able to do this much.
Kevin Reilly is pretty much my hero right now. After hearing about his helping out the Office, I was feeling pretty optimistic, but he just keeps getting better and better.
I hope less adverts mean we get an opening title sequence. Very few shows have a opening credit sequence now, shows like Lost and Heroes just have the title and thats it. I always thought that's because they wanted more time for adverts.

Also lets have a title sequence like Chunk. One where some effort has been put in, not just a bunch of clips stuck together.
Yay for fewer commercials! (Since I'm also planning to watch this real time--have to figure out how my TV works.)
And yay for palehorse! That was driving me nuts.
I think palehorse deserves a medal for his grammatical bravery. ;)
Ha, Caroline, you're on a roll. :)
Does this mean it has to have double the ratings?
Yeah Dave B. ditto on the opening sequence, I was just complaining again to my friends, about how most shows nowadays don't have opening sequences anymore, and even the ones that had it, are losing them.

Chuck seems like a refreshing exception on this, with an fun opening sequence.

And all openings been important and iconic for all Jossverse previous shows.

And, heh, good one Caroline.
It might need higher ratings to justify the extra charge for an ad, yeah. On the other hand, good demographics and less ad clutter might compensate for some advertisers. Plus, if people don't switch channels as much (because there's a shorter interval to do so, and more time to get sucked into the story), then that's a plus that has to be factored in.

[ edited by shambleau on 2008-05-16 08:43 ]
Okkay, does zeitgeist need to come post about Reilly and his development resume again?

It's going to be a very long eight months or so.


Did I miss something? Where do I go to read about Reilly's development resume?
ESP, here.

That does look like a serious resume.
Oh wow, that makes me even more hopeful. So love letters to Mr. Reilly. ;)
Note: That wasn't sarcasm- although I frequently am, and those letters have a certain acidy look to them, that was sincere.
Fox is becoming very un-Foxy, if this is all true. I like their support, I like the commercial strategy, I like the feel this guy gives. Of course, time will tell, but it's a very benevolent beginning. Also, I wonder if less ads means Joss will have to restructure his typical 40-minute episode format.
I wonder if more footage will be shot and added to the pilot to compensate for less ads. More Eliza screen time? Never too much.
The downside, looking way, way, ahead is that when it comes to syndication the episodes will have to be butchered to allow the usual amount of adverts. Unless the syndication chanel follow Fox's lead.
I am so fed up with seeing shows edited, usually done to edit out naughty and violent content, as it ruins the flow of the episode.
Taking ten minutes out of fifty is a big cut!
I don't see that as a downside. Sure, it's the only bad thing about bigger episodes, but we'll get them all nice and neat and huge on DVD :D
Maybe it's just me, I'll happily think "Oh, an episode of Buffy!" and sit down and watch it if it's on TV, even though I have all the DVDs sitting on a shelf. Maybe I'm just weird.
The downside, looking way, way, ahead is that when it comes to syndication the episodes will have to be butchered to allow the usual amount of adverts.

Yeah, that's a potential issue if Sky buy it over here since they're already perilously close to a US amount of advertising time in each "hour". If the Beeb get it we should be OK though, 50 minutes fits their schedule nicely, maybe followed by a ten minute behind the scenes bit (yep, we've seen one preliminary trailer 8 months ahead of broadcast and i'm already wanting 'Dollhouse Confidential' ;).
This is all kinds of awesome. What a day :)


What does this say about the progression of television itself? VCRs were the first to make advertisers shake in their boots about the state of their commercials, then TiVo, and now with iTunes/Amazon/whatever-comes-next, commercials aren't even included. Streaming video has advertisements basically surrouding the video, as well as one commercial-per-break, but it is still a large amount less. Are we relying so heavily on "new media" that commercials are becoming a thing of the past? "Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon" would never happen again.

I hope that we won't see more "banner" ads running along the bottom of the screen. I find those more annoying than commercials themselves (because what would life be without the Pepto Bismol song/dance?). Also, the banner ads take away fromt the show itself by blocking half of what is going on (much like weather alerts, brought to you by Diet Coke).


Okay, I'm done. I was just thinking about the path of television. This is a step to the future, to be sure.
zz9, you're not weird or alone, a Buffy or Angel rerun requires watching, it's just a fact of life.

Seeing is believing as usual but they really say the right things, support of creators, less but more valuable commercials, timeslots that make sense, be interesting to see how it pans out.
Odd if the last best hope for network tv would be Fox the 'Idol network', maybe I'm wrong in believing that cable is the only home for scripted drama, Fox prove me wrong, please.

The gods of Nielsen ratings are going to demand some heavy sacrifices for this to go well, hope Joss and Eliza is up on their goat sacrificing rituals.

ETA, Yes the people creating banner ads clearly sold their souls a long time ago.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-05-16 08:27 ]
Are tentpole series shows that give marketing men a stiffy?


Thank you so much.
I was gearing up for some quote involving Amy, but would probably have just regretted it afterwards.

So where are they getting the money to make the shows then?
Have as many ads as you like, I just flick over them anyway!
We're not going back to the fifties are we?
Can't really see Eliza stopping in the middle of kicking arse to tell us how she couldn't do it without a slim panatella.

If it is the case that there's going to be more product placement, that just confirms my belief that broadcasters only get more scummy, not less.

Whatever the reason, you can guarantee it's not concern for the fans.
They are a very smooth smoke though.
Not concern for the fans definitely, concern for the bottom line certainly.
No getting around the sad fact that someone have to pay a lot of money for the fans to get the shows they want, less commercials sound like an idea we could all get behind.
For product placements there must be a middle ground between the no name products and 'why dont we spend five minutes driving around in your lovely new car with the brand clearly visible for no purpose whatsoever', after all in most shows they actually need to use a computer, phone and car, why not let the companies pay for it ?

I still believe the 'Show XYZ as presented by the car of choice' would be the best way to go, I still dont get why that one isn't used more, probably to expensive, but the critics and viewers would love it and the results should be a lot better than the current model where the annoying ad breaks works very hard to make people hate the products they are trying to sell.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-05-16 15:01 ]
They are a very smooth smoke though.


Clicky! or more generic link.
What movie years ago had "Blipverts"? That seems the way of the future to me, instead of a four minute ad break that is easy to FF through with Sky+ (or Tivo) you'd get more ad breaks but only five or ten seconds long. No point in trying to fast forward, it's over by the time you pick up the remote. Family Guys "Smoke!" ads got it about right.
So far less advertising but what ads there are are actually seen. If the advertisers find they are getting a better response from these than the'll be keen to go that way, and we get an extra ten minutes of show.
Max Headroom had blipverts.
Max Headroom! How could I have forgotten that!?
So we're getting over an episode's worth of extra footage? Cool. (yes, this has just hit me)

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