The Courier

The television networks are really taking a beating due to the advent of TiVo and other DVR companies. In addition they face increasing competition from video games and the web. They are fighting back in a few ways such as selling episodes on the web. A relatively newer way is to launch TV shows that run during commercial messages. These shows will be different than the one you are watching.

The goal is to keep viewers watching commercials so they don’t miss the microseries.

In 2003 NBC experimented with the concept but didn’t think anyone cared so they stopped it.

Now CBS is doing the same thing with a new microseries that will air with a 60 second launch followed by 40 second episodes. The series will be called The Courier and it tells the story of a mystery man looking for his kidnapped wife – of course he is racing against time as there will be little time for the series to set up or even tell the story.

The series has extensive web tie ins (turn your speakers down) and by collecting clues from the program and perhaps the website you can potentially win a Pontiac Torrent. It should come as no surprise that Pontiac is a sponsor of the show. Many analysts predict these sorts of corporate sponsored product tie-ins will be the future of television.

One wonders if the concept will work this time around. If the series is compelling enough it just may. If the idea takes off we many end up with programming that like the Super Bowl gets some people more excited about the commercials than the program itself.

In such an ADD driven world, it wont surprise me if the younger generation falls in love with microseries programming. If so, networks will have to rethink their entire programming logic.

I commend CBS for trying new things. In the end they have to do this to survive but a network that was once considered stodgy could be the one that helps establish microseries as a new genre of television.

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