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October 8, 2015

TBS pauses a show for a commercial - VIDEO

by Brett Love, posted Jun 5th 2008 10:01AM

Bill Engvall pausing an episode of Family GuyThe relationship between the viewer and the network is one that requires a delicate balance. As the numbers for DVR penetration continue to climb, it's pretty clear that a great many of us are successfully dodging more and more commercial breaks. And the networks continue to push back, trying different things to get eyeballs on ads. Some are merely annoying. For instance, as much as I like both Kyra Sedgwick and The Closer, I'm annoyed every time Brenda walks out of the corner of my screen while I'm watching another show on TNT.

While that one is annoying, this latest adventure from TBS crosses a line. During an episode of Family Guy (video after the jump), Bill Engvall walks out on the screen, much like the Brenda spots for The Closer. The difference is that Bill holds up a remote and actually pauses the episode before heading into his pitch for his show. When he finishes, he unpauses the show, which runs for two more seconds before going to the regular commercial break. Please, if it's not too much trouble, strap on your sturdiest combat boots and join me in sending a theoretical kick to the crotch of anyone at TBS that didn't think this was the dumbest idea since starting everything at five minutes past the hour.

Seriously, what are they hoping to gain from this? That ad is not going to get me to watch The Bill Engvall Show. In fact, it's more likely to do just the opposite. I'll now go out of my way to not watch TBS out of spite. This spot is at the precipice of a very slippery slope. It's just a Family Guy rerun, and it was just two seconds before going to commercial anyway. But that leads to the middle of a first run My Boys segment. And before you know it we have NBA games getting paused mid play so Tom Arnold can sell us toasted subs.

I know, that sounds crazy. But did you ever think that a network would have the nuts to pause an episode for a commercial? Screw that. There needs to be a backlash for this to define the line. Link the video on your blog, your livejournal, myspace, facebook, and whatever other web 2.0 social site that I'm too square to have heard of yet. With any luck, the stank of all the bad press will send the appropriate message. And yes, TBS and TV Squad share corporate overlords, for what it's worth.

[ via kottke, thanks Adam and Wil ]

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Umm it happened during a upteenth rerun of a Family Guy episode. Slow posting day or something? Maybe if it happened during a live or first run episode there'd be a minor issue. It's their network used to promote their product.

June 06 2008 at 4:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was bad enough when they ran promos for "Frank TV" every five minutes during the MLB playoffs last year.

June 05 2008 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They did this for the same show last season as well during old episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond." They even paused it right before a punchline so it completely ruined the moment. My wife was furious.

June 05 2008 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seriously what is next with ad pop-ups. The ones during Family Guy started right before the break but now they in in the middle of the damn punchline! By the time Bill unpauses the show I forgot what the joke was because I just got annoyed by the pop up ad.

The pop up ads are bad enough. During a Kill Bill showing on TNT, Kyra Segwick shows up on the bottom of the screen and was blocking the subtitles.

June 05 2008 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a policy of permanently boycotting all products that employ or otherwise benefit from intrusive advertising. Adding another TV show to my list...

June 05 2008 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


I've only been using torrents for ALL my TV for the last three years, and as a result I feel phobic of watching live TV anymore.

That's absolutely pathetic TBS, don't insult your viewer's intelligence. Hell I'm gonna send an angry email to them just so it's added to the pile.

I adore Torrent TV, it's the mot beautiful thing in the world and I'm glad I've experienced the 'Golden Age', before it becomes commercialised. Also, using torrents has introduced me to so many shows, such as Arrested Development, which in that show's case led me to go out there and buy the DVDs ASAP (altho I still only watch my torrents, I just wanted that crew to have my money)

June 05 2008 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Has anyone ever been persuaded to watch an existing show because of of any sort of advertising? If I didn't watch the show before the annoying ad, it's even less likely I'll try after an intrusive ad. Frankly most existing shows I see for the first time only because I'm channel surfing and something in the show itself catches my attention.
Hint to advertisers and networks, the audience might be bigger if you'd stop canceling shows after only a few episodes and kept shows at the same time each week. I spend more time just trying to figure out where shows went, than watching. Thankfully I've got a DVR that takes most of the work out of catching shows I want to watch.
A bad show will be just as bad no matter what time it is shown, and no amount of advertising will make it any better. How about you put all the effort you put into "creative" ads into the shows themselves? As dumb an idea as that might be, it seems to be the one thing no network has tried.
And can someone please tell me why I'm expected to pay for basic cable and still sit through the extra ads? If we count the bottom of the screen ads, I figure that a half hour show now contains close to twenty minutes of ads, not counting the product placement ads in the shows themselves.
What's next a network that's ninety-five percent ads and five percent entertainment content?

June 05 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is not new. They've been doing this for a long time. They pulled this same crap last summer when this show debuted. I'd like to say that this is the reason I'll never what that show, but I never would have watched it anyway.

June 05 2008 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Irrespective of the overall number of people watching each week, do you think that TV companies will ever realise that there are far too many channels on TV nowadays? You can't watch everything. Trying to shove advertising (necessary as it may be) down our throuts is not the best way to go things. They're never going to get the ratings of old. They need to really rethink the whole thing.

June 05 2008 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TBS has been using that tactic (to promote only the Bill Engvall show, oddly enough) for a while now, as I remember that happening last season too.

June 05 2008 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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