For example, CBS canceled terrorist-themed episodes for “Supergirl” and “NCIS: Los Angeles”on Monday night. TNT didn’t air a Monday episode of “Legends”centered around a potentially violent and deadly protest in Paris.
Many other networks offered up “viewer discretion” warnings about episodes that were about to air on Sunday. ABC did this for “Quantico”; Showtime for “Homeland.”
Additionally, NBC killed a live taping of the comedy “Undateable” set to air on Friday night. The show’s writers tweeted: “To our fans, friends & family: We love you. And we love to make you laugh. Tonight we will not air out of respect for our friends in Paris”
Rightfully, no one wants to be insensitive, or to appear to profit, during such moments. So much advertising was shifted, suspended, and/or canceled -- especially on Friday night on broadcast news programming and cable news networks.
Over the weekend, more wall-to-wall coverage by cable news networks and other networks meant less advertising for long periods.
Closer to home, tragedies get even more attention and sensitivity from advertisers. There was five days of nonstop all-news coverage during the 9/11 attacks, which meant a shifting of nearly $400 million in commercial TV time. A year later, on the anniversary of the attacks, another $50 million to $60 million in ads was suspended.
TV programmers have always been careful about when to begin airing this kind of content again, within a distance of days, weeks or more. TV advertisers also make those estimations.
But what happens next? Violent, terrorist-related stories have long been a staple of U.S. TV dramas -- and theatrical movies. What should change on TV, and advertising commerce, in light of real-life, events -- if anything?