The New 63-Minute Show: Super-Sizing TV Ain't What It Used To Be
At first Olbermann and his producing crew, had no problem with this. After all, they were giving viewers more than their money's worth. Of course, what isn't mentioned is what happens when you upset Current viewers, who might like to watch a show on CNN, MSNBC or other TV content.
The irony of course is that Olbermann just came from the confines of NBC Universal, MSNBC to be exact -- and it was NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker that came up with idea of "super-sizing" TV shows back in 2001. As a ploy to combat the then-very-strong CBS "Survivor," Zucker rolled out 40-minute episodes of the half-hour "Friends," "Will and Grace" and "Just Shoot Me."
For the most part, this strategy has been largely abandoned -- apart from those extended one-and-a-half or two-hour versions your favorite reality competition show. Even in its heyday, "super-sizing" always felt like a short-term stunt for viewers.
Ten years ago, too, Zucker's extra-large TV shows didn't face the issue of "disruption" technologies. Today, it's a different story -- what with 43% of U.S. viewers having other means of getting complete TV viewing of programs at any hour, at any minute of the day, with time-shifting DVR technology.
Now, Current TV says it is cutting back on "Countdown" to its proper hour-long length. Olbermann says he does not want to hurt his friend Maddow, a long-time colleague at MSNBC. Others believe that when Maddow's contract runs out, he'd love to recruit her to Current TV.
Don't worry. TV marketers will continue to look for other ways to disrupt, catching the viewer off-guard. What about an hour-long show that suddenly stops after 49 minutes?