At Fox, two new dramas; half as many commercials

May 15, 2008

peter.jpgTired of all those commercials? Don’t have a DVR? Fox reckons it has something for you. Forget the name (they’re calling it Remote Free TV) and concentrate on the concept: a big tentpole drama with half the normal commercials and promotional time.

Fox will first try out this idea with “Fringe,” an FBI, mystery, science-fiction, thriller, supernatural drama from J.J. Abrams that’s rolling out this fall.  Come midseason, it will do the commercial shrinking thing with “Dollhouse” from Joss Whedon, who was behind teen supernatural hit “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori — after calling his network scrappy and populist — told advertisers at the upfront that he refused to let things get boring. “We’re the number one network. We’re the rebel innovators.”

Here’s his plan: “With both of our scheduled dramas of the season, we’re going to try something different, something a little unusual. We are going to redefine the viewing experience. All season long we’ll air these two series with less commercials, less promotional time, and above all, less reason to grab the remote and change the channel.”

What’s that mean? “These two series will run with half the normal commercial and promotional time all season long,” he said. “Some people might think this is a scary financial prospect. We really see it as an investment. We need to give viewers a new reason to come to broadcast TV.”

Sure, viewers may love it. We’ll see what advertisers have to say. 

(Reuters photo of Peter Liguori)

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