When annoying, but often amusing long form TV ads or infomercials, euphemistically though boringly called “paid programming” came onto the television landscape, we made jokes on needing an all ad channel.
Sadly, and most unfunny of all, we don’t need one now.
We don’t need all infomercial, paid programming channels, because it’s what a good number of TV networks are becoming. It’s been said beloved shows like sitcoms or game shows (talk about product placement) merely kill time between advertisements. That old notion is now being realized and expanded by many networks, but the most outrageous offenders are MSNBC, CNBC and Ion Television. They don’t only air a few infomercials, they fairly subsist on them.
Watching their ‘programming’ is an exercise in frustration and restraint from throwing away your remote, or the whole TV aside in a fit of ad fueled rage. Road rage? Let’s talk remote rage!
Channel surfing these bastions of base ads, one finds passionate pleas to buy Time-Life Soft Rock music collection (which I do love by the way), Sleep Number beds, or Klee Irwin’s Colon Cleanser. This last is a favorite of mine – don’t ask. Watching Mr. Klee Irwin discussing his daughter’s ‘perfect bowel movements’, one can truly appreciate the fine artistry of an infomercial masterpiece. I went so far as to burn these to DVD – again don’t ask. I got anyone who would watch, and not knock me out later for making them suffer through Klee wax poetic on keeping regular. Fact is people that did watch my detox discs found Klee’s Detox diatribe deliciously hilarious.
Ion television airs old movies, reruns of old sitcoms like Alice or Mama’s Family, and broadcast paid programming. On average, I’ve counted 10-12 hours on weekends of nothing but 30 or 60 minute advertisements. It’s pretty bad, but two of the worst offenders are MSNBC and CNBC. Both air 10-14 infomercial hours. Supposedly they’re a news and a business news channel respectively. Seems to me, they should be rechristened thusly, MarketingSNBC and CommericalsNBC.
Most frighteningly of all, infomercials are dangerous. There’s a real estate guy named Dean Graziosi. He seems a great, energetic guy, Only problem is that his infomercial sees him drive a car while yakking away about real estate. Yes, Dean is driving. He’s at the wheel. He yaps away into a video cam, as he drives merrily along on the highway. We all know about cell phone and texting driving dangers. Now we must deal with infomercials filming on the road? Dean, buddy, next time you concoct a gimmick to sell real estate, use a TV sales pitch that’s a bit more responsible.