When former Fox exec Kevin Reilly was brought in as the new Chief Creative Officer for TNT and sister network TBS, he made it clear that he wanted to make big changes to put these networks in contention with other more prestigious channels. That process began with some cancellations and the hunt for more exciting new series, and now TNT is going to completely change up how utilizes commercial breaks, with a plan to chop ad times in half for some of its primetime dramas. Now this is a TV trend that everyone could hopefully latch onto.
Somewhat unfortunately, TNT won’t be using this approach with any of its returning shows, so The Librarians and the final season of Rizzoli and Isles will still contain the average of 18-20 minutes of product hocking. But for the new dramas The Alienist, Good Behavior, and Animal Kingdom, audiences can likely expect to see only 8 or 9 minutes of ads sprinkled between the scenes. This will obviously change up when those breaks will come during the show, and Reilly is looking to experiment with how that plays out, by possibly using three-minute-long commercials and specific ad campaigns. Another step involves dealing with producers of Good Behavior and Animal Kingdom, as both shows have already shot their pilots with normal commercial breaks in mind.
The obvious question of “Well, why doesn’t everyone do this?” is followed by the obvious answer “Because ad money is everything,” and Reilly fully understands the huge risks. That’s just another part of the experimentation. Here’s what he told Deadline.
Avoiding ads is always a plus for viewers, so watching an extended Apple commercial instead of a bunch of longer random ads would be hard to argue against. Hulu supplemented its revolving door of lengthy and repeating ads with charging a fee for a commercial-free option. Obviously a network can’t copy that exact plan, at least not on linear TV, but one of the hopes here is that the shorter ad-time will draw in viewers for whom that is an important selling point, such as the people with that Hulu subscription.
Turner Broadcasting, TNT’s parent company, already put a plan like this into action when TruTV chopped its ad time in half last year. But this is obviously on an entirely different scale, as TNT has a larger audience that is faithful to both the primetime shows and the syndicated shows. You still the shit, though, Hack My Life.
Surely TNT bringing back a fan favorite series like Tales from the Crypt will draw a bigger crowd than the average new show, and if this commercial-tightening plan is more success than failure, we’ll get to see even “morgue” of each episode. That was my impression of the Cryptkeeper, everyone. What do you guys think of TNT’s plans for the future?
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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