Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Save Your Favorite TV Show from Cancellation

It’s the topic for many a drunken barroom conversation. Ask someone about theirs, and you liable to get a very emotional response. It’s your favorite TV show that was canceled prematurely.

Many people will say "Arrested Development" takes the prize. Those that were teenagers in the 1990s will claim "My So-Called Life" or "Freaks and Geeks." Personally, I’m partial to the recently canceled "Better off Ted" and "Party Down."

When good shows get canceled, fans try everything to prevent the shows from ending, starting internet petitions and forming protest groups on Facebook. These efforts are fruitless. Networks are interested in ratings, and no matter how angry devout fans are, they can do little to make ratings sustainable.

But what if you could change the model? What if your favorite endangered show rather than bending over backwards for ratings tried to make itself more profitable? In the past, shows have tried product placement, but these attempts appear conspicuous and hackneyed.

I recommend a different approach – one that has nearly limitless potential to make money. It’s negative product placement. The producers of the show bribe companies to give them money or they will include the product in their show in a negative light. Here are some examples.

• “Did you catch the child molester?” “Yes Barbara, we did. He was eating Nabisco Cheese Nips at the time. He said they get him in the mood.”
• “What happened to all that money I won at the track? Well, I invested it in a Met Life annuity. Now it’s all gone.”
• “What’s up Bill? That’s your third trip to the bathroom this morning.” “I know. It’s the damn Nestle Crunch I had this morning. It always gives me the runs. Strangely, this never happens when I eat a Hershey’s Crackle.”

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