NBC airs commercials, viewers enter Twilight Zone

Last night’s “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” preem managed to do what the finale several months ago did: serve as a cross-platform promo machine for Dean Winters.

120523law-order-winters2Winters landed a recurring role on the procedural cop drama in 2000 as Detective Brian Cassidy, but his “SVU” role was only revisited this year as Cassidy went undercover doing security for a high-ranking Gotham pimp. 

Aside from his “SVU” stint, Winters may be known best for his spot on Allstate commercials as the conniving “Mayhem” guy leading to various home and auto calamities.

So, when NBC ran memorable Allstate commercials featuring Winters sandwiched between finale and premiere “SVU” episodes with Winters as a recurring role, viewers were left wondering, “Wait, isn’t he– wasn’t that– is this the Twilight Zone?”
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Winters’s disorienting appearances on both episodes of “SVU” and the skein’s commercial breaks are not the first example of NBC’s bizarre ad choices during “SVU.”

Last season, after Chris Meloni abruptly ankled his longstanding lead role as Detective Elliot Stabler on “Special Victims Unit,” NBC ran promos for HBO’s “True Blood” during “SVU” — promos that featured a recently cast Meloni in, well, some very detective-like garb (save the fangs).

Meloni joined the “True Blood” cast as a blood sucking, suit sporting, 500 year old vampire named Roman. Seeing him in “True Blood” commercials during “SVU” episodes that are still adjusting to his departure makes you wonder: what is NBC thinking? And is Stabler now a vampire?

Whether tuning “SVU,” “True Blood” or Allstate spots, viewers can bet they’re watching “The Twilight Zone” on NBC thanks to these strange ad placements.

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