Fox Thinks Ad Agencies Know Programming

With fewer creative minds left to develop TV shows, television programmers have finally given up - they are now entertaining the thought of using advertising agencies as TV producers.

Fox Television Studios has signed a first-look programming deal with the hot Miami, Fla. agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the agency that is the brains behind some of the best advertising campaigns, for clients such as Burger King, Google, Earthlink, Gateway, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Victoria's Secret.

Modern advertising agencies have long flirted with the idea of developing TV programs. Back in nascent development of radio and TV, some of them did just that.

But now with the dearth of good writers, especially comedy writers, and the rise of unscripted reality programming, creative agencies such as CP+B have found a seam to enter the even more creative world of TV programming.

Everyone has ideas for TV shows. Even some T-shirt salesman in Venice, Calif. can strike it rich. Why not go to the people who are already producing 30-second and 60-second TV shows? Sure, they are schilling products. But isn't everyone? Of course, everyone will leap to the natural thought that CP+B, with this deal, is really looking to create branded entertainment for their clients - the faux new wave of TV programming, where consumer products are woven into the story line of programs. The Hollywood Reporter story and others brought this up.



But the answer is, not really. In reality, there isn't much money to be made in branded entertainment, unless your name is Mark Burnett, a former T-shirt salesman. CP+B realizes it can make more as a producer of a TV show, which can have back-end and merchandising rights, and if successful can be a big profit center for any company, including an advertising agency.

For Fox, this is a no-lose situation - it gets a first-look for anything CP+B comes up with.

History has already shown advertising writers can become successful TV programming writers, so there is precedent this can work.

With that thought, I reckon marketers are also looking for better creative talent as well and should hire TV writers to write commercials. A flirty sandwich commercial for Burger King can now have a continuing storyline at, say, Victoria's Secret.

Have it your way.

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