Lowry’s latest – NBC

Driving back from NBC’s upfront presentation simulcast in L.A., I couldn’t help wondering if anybody else found NBC sales exec Mike Pilot’s promise that advertisers will have “a seat with the creatives” a little bit … creepy?

Hey, I get it — it’s a new world out there, as NBC’s upfront presentation reminded us over and over again, with another paean to the joys of new media. Product integration, moreover, is here to stay in a zap-happy world, and nobody has achieved that balance of commerce and creative more deftly than one of the net’s prize series, “The Office.”

Nevertheless, desperate networks have a tendency to engage in semi-desperate practices, and with NBC promising to get “more better,” as NBC Entertainment boss Kevin Reilly purposely put it, the notion that the network is so eager to bring advertisers into the process at a granular level appears fraught with peril. Everyone at NBC, in fact, sounded so eager to please media buyers that there was a prevailing sense if the ad guys wanted a Target logo tattooed on John Madden’s forehead, well, how often do you see Madden, anyway?

Leave it to Jerry Seinfeld to sum up this unease, saying that when he surveys the current state of TV, “Sometimes I feel like the whole industry just packed up and joined the circus.”

And then some. As for NBC’s new shows (and everybody else’s), more on those once we have a chance to see them. Until then, though, listening to this glorious world where ad buyers are in on the ground floor with show producers, the whole idea gives me a case of the “Mo’ Better Blues.”

–Brian Lowry

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