Nbc, Too, Agrees To Air 15-second Ads

Posted: May 27, 1986

The networks compete staunchly to attract viewers to their programs, battling one another for every ratings point, but they've all slid serenely into unison in approving a change that's sure to please almost no viewers: more commercials.

NBC announced Friday that it would start accepting 15-second advertisements, joining ABC, which earlier this month said it would allow the shorter commercials next season, and CBS, which has been running them since last year.

With some exceptions, 30 seconds had been the shortest block of time that advertisers could buy on prime-time network shows. Now, instead of seeing pitches for an average of 13 products during the 6 1/2 minutes of ads in a prime-time hour, we'll be subjected to a possible 26 - 78 a night.

Sadly, part of the reason for the increase in the number of mind-numbing commercials is that we've all become so clever as TV-watchers. Because of MTV and other fast-paced video fare, "people pick things up faster now," said John Sisk, senior vice president of negotiating at the J. Walter Thompson ad agency.

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He's the Con Dept.: Tony Danza, star of ABC's Who's the Boss?, will star in the NBC telemovie Doing Life, which begins production today.

The true story is based on the life of Jerry Rosenberg, a convict serving a life sentence who became a jailhouse lawyer.

Rosenberg was a small-time hoodlum from Brooklyn who became involved in a robbery in 1962 in which two police officers were killed.

Filmed in Toronto, Doing Life will air next season.

An estimated $8,560 in equipment and props was taken from a warehouse storing items for the Amerika mini-series, police in Lincoln, Neb., said yesterday.

ABC-Circle Films officials told police that the stuff, including goggles with colored lenses, fatigue jackets, gas masks and dummy hand grenades, was taken between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.

The mini-series, being shot at several locations in Nebraska, is about life in the United States following a Soviet takeover.

Going for the Gawkers: Channel 29 has bought the new syndicated series

Dream Girl U.S.A. for broadcast beginning this fall.

The show's concept is similar to the long-running Dance Fever, but the contestants' moves will be a little different. Four women representing different cities will vie each week in a mini-beauty pageant. At season's end, the 26 regional winners will be pitted against one another in a final showdown, with the winner being crowned and given a check for $125,000.

Auditions will be held for the Philadelphia representative early this summer.

Talks are under way to bring Carroll O'Connor back to series TV this fall. In The Eagle and the Bear, the former Archie Bunker would portray a California detective who teams with a defecting KGB agent.

Don't Cry for Her Dept.: Patti LuPone, the Tony Award-winner from Evita, will make her television acting debut as Lady Bird Johnson in the three-hour NBC movie LBJ.

The film, which stars Randy Quaid as former President Lyndon B. Johnson, is scheduled to go into production next month. It will chronicle 30 years in the life of Johnson, beginning when he was 26 and eloped with Lady Bird, and ending on Nov. 22, 1963, the day he was sworn in as president following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

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