Advertisers Looking For Riskier TV Concepts: Will Viewers Watch?

Sex in a box -- as a TV show?  Okay, first question: How big is the box? Can you get everything necessary you need into that box?

I don’t know all the details of the new WE TV reality show called “Sex Box,” with a concept imported from the U.K. Whatever is included, blankets, pillows and couches should be optional.

Blue, nightclub-like lights surround the box, where couples are having sex -- which is not shown on-camera, though we imagine that outside cameras are capturing a lot of banging around and interesting sounds from inside the box.

Troubled couples enter the box to help solve their problems. Yeah. And after the box session, they leave and address their issues with a panel of experts.

WE TV hasn’t as yet announced any advertisers who have signed on for the show. No matter.



Such shows are definitely upping the ante for new cable TV reality concepts. VH1 recently started “Dating Naked” -- where, in theory, key body parts get digitally blurred. Turns out that isn’t always the case from the waist down for certain contestants; one woman is filing a lawsuit. Of course, when you sign up for show called “Dating Naked,” what can you expect?

The FCC has no say over cable TV shows -- advertising-supported, premium TV or otherwise. Naked. Sex. Boxes. Dating. No problem.

This trend is cresting in the wake of criticism that cable networks have way too many similar-looking reality shows, and ratings for many of the top-ten established networks have witnessed erosion.

Reality shows occupy a lot of time on the likes History, A&E, Oxygen, MTV, E!, VH1, Bravo, Food Network, HGTV, OWN, providing stable, ongoing revenue and production costs lower than for original scripted programming.

Advertisers seem to be asking for more -- especially in the wake of growing traditional TV erosion. So it’s no surprise concepts are getting riskier, only held back by what TV marketer are able to stomach or by viewer boredom.

So here’s to more variations on a theme: naked court shows, sex on talk shows, and maybe even on-air death could be on the way.

In the new marketplace, there seems to be an audience for everything.

1 comment about "Advertisers Looking For Riskier TV Concepts: Will Viewers Watch?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 25, 2014 at 6:31 p.m.

    Good piece, Wayne. I agree that many advertisers find edgier "made-for- cable" shows like AMC's "Mad Men" to be more desirable vehicles for their ads than the cautious and predictable stuff churned out by more traditional TV program outlets. The main reason is the fact that shows like "Mad Men" attract a more selective audience and advertisers like to showcase themselves in such "environments" hoping for a positive rub-off effect. We should not forget that many of these programs generate a good deal of buzz and advertisers want to merchandize their association with such out-of-the ordinary fare. There are limits, however. I doubt that a hot new reality series depicting the back stories and live executions of condemned murderers----"This Is The End Of Your Life" might be the working title for a show of this nature----- would draw many ad sponsors, no matter how edgy it was or how much buzz it created.

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