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If not, it should have been. Apple is denying paying for placement. The studio isn’t saying. It’s tough to imagine no trade being involved — a semi-truck of free iPads (or, even better, Amazon Kindles), iTunes downloads for life, something. Seldom in TV history has one product received more love in a half-hour
of TV, and perfectly timed to the eve of its release.
Defenders point out that “Family” had a creative justification to include the
iPad — Phil is a gadget geek and the iPad is precisely the type of
device he’d want for his birthday. Still … the iPad scenes felt like an advertisement, and that’s what matters to viewers.
Sources say the agreement to showcase the product wasn’t
made through the network … exactly. Remember, usual ABC production partner ABC
Studios doesn’t produce
“Modern Family,” 20th Television does.
Still, no products get on ABC’s air without the network’s approval. Apple CEO Steve Jobs sits on the Disney board, which couldn’t have hurt.
This is the second night in a row that viewers have been buzzing about ABC’s top show adding a distracting element that seemed to undercut its value (Wednesday night had the “V” countdown clock during “Lost” … a device that’s has received far more online chatter than the actual “V” episode).
Meanwhile, Fox’s “American Idol” was an equal opportunity offender, with an opening segment promoting “Clash of the Titans” that awkwardly blended clips from the movie and clips from “Idol” (“Release the Kraken!” then the show cuts to Simon Cowell, etc.).
But that sort of garish placement is common to “Idol.” “Modern Family,” which was just awarded with a Peabody Award on Wednesday, presents itself as a high-class show. Be a shame to water down a brand with the perception of selling out … especially if it didn’t sell out.
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