Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 12:18am
[SOURCE: New York Times, AUTHOR: Stuart Elliott]
Many mainstream advertisers have long been skittish about television programs with plot lines deemed contentious or provocative. Still, the paucity of marketers buying commercial time during the debut of "The Book of Daniel" was particularly pronounced - despite lower prices for the spots, which reflected a week's worth of media attention devoted to complaints from the American Family Association about the contents of the program. The complaints led 5 of NBC's 232 affiliates to pre-empt the series last Friday; in one market, Little Rock, Ark., the local WB affiliate ran it instead. The series "touches on something that our society, and Madison Avenue, are not ready for," said Joe Mandese, editor of MediaPost, an online and print trade publication. "Religion is the ultimate taboo topic." NBC is hoping that the eyebrow-raising story lines of "The Book of Daniel" will appeal to younger, educated and affluent viewers who prefer their TV programs with an edge. It is part of efforts by NBC and the other big broadcast networks to make up for the viewers they have lost to cable networks that present more daring series. "Advertisers do have a history of taking a cautious approach to controversial shows," Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "It's an age-old issue," Mr. Reilly said. "We want to run contemporary programming, and we want to create the best possible environment for advertisers.
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