Will the coming seasons see change for TV ads?
The US upfronts are just around the corner and media buyers are talking about more than the new lineups.
Show renewals made the news south of the border this week, giving a glimpse of the future when it comes to imported programming on Canadian nets for the 2007-2008 season. Fox renewed Prison Break for a third season. On the list of ABC shows green-lighted for 2007-2008 were Ugly Betty (Citytv), Brothers & Sisters (Global), Men in Trees (Cityty), The Bachelor (Citytv), Boston Legal (CH), Dancing with the Stars (CTV), Desperate Housewives (CTV), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (CH), Grey’s Anatomy (CTV) and Lost (CTV).
But ABC made headlines for more than its renewals. Media buyers in the US are wowing over the net’s tentative (that’s the key word) talks about inserting commercials into program scenes – putting real commercials on the TV sets within a program, ads popping out of other media props within the shows, and other content integration schemes that would, it appears, require cooperation from writers and producers beyond current levels of product placement within dramas. Details are sparse, so far.
Canadian nets are hesitant to comment on fall line-ups until the formal pick-up announcements are made (CTV’s upfront, for example, is set for June 4). However, looking ahead at what the US nets are working on into the summer, fall and beyond, there’s a number of new dramas, comedies and game shows on the slate that may make it north of the border.
Here’s a look at what’s in the works:
Drama: FOX has the two creators of 24 working on a show about an everyday guy who gets recruited by the CIA, tentatively titled NSA: Innocent. ABC is working on a show about two L.A. paramedics called The Call. The net is also planning a pilot for a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy for the fall schedule, which could see the show’s female star, Kate Walsh, leaving for another medical clinic and a new gig with opposite Taye Diggs. One of Grey’s Anatomy‘s writers is also writing a pilot for summer production about a group of female journalists. NBC has promoted two House writers to exec producer posts for the show, which means new eps will likely keep comin’. And CBS pilots in the works include an exorcist drama called Demons, a 1970s set suburban soap called Swingtown, and a legal drama starring Janeane Garofalo.
Comedy: Former X-Files star David Duchovny is starring in a new comedy series for Showtime about a novelist raising a teenaged daughter and chasing an ex-girlfriend.
Game shows / Reality series: there’s some new items in the works. NBC, which owns Deal or No Deal, is working on a fall launch for a new game show called Let’s Play Crosswords. ABC is working on Wanna Bet?, a variety gameshow that combines celebrities with average people who bet on whether they can successfully complete various stunts. And Spike TV has got Murder in the works for this summer. It’s an alternative competition series that puts real police files in the hands of amateur wannabe crime-solvers.