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'Entourage' has quite an entourage of commercials on Spike


Looks like Spike TV overpaid for reruns of HBO's "Entourage," and viewers are the ones paying the price.

Advertising Age noticed that the commercial breaks in "Entourage" have reached epic proportion. According to the industry publication, commercial breaks that run six minutes are not uncommon and there have even been breaks in the 10-minute range.

Normally, commercial breaks on broadcast television run three minutes or so, and cable has breaks of more than four minutes. Cable networks also often have more commercial breaks in their shows and movies than the broadcast networks, particularly in their repeats. But commercial breaks of over six minutes are a sure-fire way to drive viewers to another channel.

Of course, part of the reason Spike is loading up "Entourage" with so many commercials is because the audience is small. Spike, a unit of cable programming giant Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks, shelled out $600,000 per episode to HBO for "Entourage" in the hopes that it would draw a big audience and serve as a platform for the channel to promote its original shows, such as "Blue Mountain State."

Instead, "Entourage" has not gotten good ratings even though in theory the testosterone-filled show about movie star Vinnie Chase, his pals and his foul-mouthed agent Ari Gold should be right in Spike's wheelhouse. Not only that, there is no shortage of beautiful women on the show. Why it hasn't worked remains a mystery, but that's why buying reruns can sometimes be as dicey as playing blackjack in Las Vegas.

Spike, apparently not ready to acknowledge it might have overextended itself for "Entourage, is blaming the racy content. Jeff Lucas, executive vice president of sales at MTV Networks, told Advertising Age that "we don't want to put our customers in an environment that is not appropriate for their commercial messages."

But that doesn't really wash or explain the glut of spots. First of all, HBO, cleans up some of the language of the show before it sells the program, and also covers up some of the nudity. Secondly, Spike already carries plenty of raunchy programming, including the above mentioned "Blue Mountain State," which at times makes "Entourage" look like "Gilligan's Island."Secondly, if content is a problem, there should be fewer spots in "Entourage," not more. 

At a time when everyone -- advertisers, marketers and, most important, viewers -- are grumbling about the amount of commercials on television, Spike's decision to try to cover its bad bet by pumping its network full of spots is shortsighted. The ideal length of a commercial break is one in which the viewer has time to run to the kitchen or maybe the bathroom, not one where he or she can, as Advertising Age put it, "brown a chicken for a casserole or walk briskly around the block."

-- Joe Flint 


HBO hopes `True Blood' will bleed green.

Photo: The cast of "Entourage." Credit: Claudette Barius / HBO

Comments () | Archives (7)

I agree with this. Too many commercials. Plus, the shws are OLD. You can watch newer episodes on LiveTVworldwide [dot] com. Yes, there are commercials, but nor nearly as many.

The show sucks. That could be why people aren't watching.

I am an avid entourage watcher,.. I will never watch entourage on spike, here's why,.. I get reruns on HBO that I already pay for,.. I get them in High-Def, and I get them unedited and entertaining the way it was intended to be... Next time you decide to spend 600,000 on a show per episode,.. take one episode,. rip its soul out, then watch it and see if its still worth it to you... i think thats called "market research" genius's

huge entourage fan and have watched it on spike a few times but...... the edited watered down versions are unbearable period.

There's no point in watching a show like Entourage or The Sopranos unless it's in the original form.
What's Ari Gold gonna sound like if he can't swear?
Unauthentic, that's how.
Did you ever see the MadTv sketch "The Sopranos on PAX Tv"?

Agree with MikeL, the show is simply atrocious

The length of the commercials may be due to the already relatively short episode length of most Entourage episodes. Some episodes in their entirety only run for 23 to 26 minutes.


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