Hey, it still has to be better than watching VIVA LAUGHLIN or DR. PHIL.
The idea is to make it seem like an MTV show. They even have CJ’s who will introduce the spots.Now this may seem like a revolutionary idea but it really isn’t.
A version of this was done in Los Angeles way back in the 50s. Lloyd Thaxton (a TV pioneer who rivaled Ernie Kovacs in inspired lunacy) got stuck with roughly the same assignment. Lloyd was kind enough to share the complete story. (I also invite you tocheck out his blog. It’s better than a Way-back machine.)
In 1959, KCOP started a drawing-for-prizes contest for small businesses, i.e., dry cleaners, gas stations, mom and pop grocery stores, etc. The merchants would pay to have a box put in their place of business and KCOP would promote the contest. For this fee merchants were also promised a 15-second commercial on KCOP.
It would be a voice-over slides commercial plugging their establishment. Lots of businesses signed up. As staff announcer, KCOP came to me to develop a show around this contest. In order to squeeze all the commercials in a one-hour a day show, each two-minutes break would have to have at least eight 15-seconds spots.
To make this happen, they had to interrupt the one-hour program for commercials every three minutes. Are you still with me?
Because a recording usually averaged about three minutes, we decided to do a TV DJ show called "Lloyd Thaxton's Record Shop." The problem, besides reading all of those commercials another problem, was what to do during thethree minutes of SHOW TIME when the record was playing. That is when I came up with all those gimmicks of making the music visual (the beginning of music videos?), i.e., lip-synching, piano synching, finger people, animated album covers. Anything I could come up with to fill the three minutes between commercials.
I had guests on the show like Jerry Lewis and Stan Freberg but you couldn't interrupt an interview every three minutes. So, I would bunch up the commercials and sometimes their would be 16 spots all in a row (four minutes of commercials. It was all live. No breaks for the host. I loved it.
Who would watch such a stupid show? A guy reading boring commercials over boring slides every three minutes and then lip-syncing a record in-between. KCOP figured no one was watching at 11 AM, so they didn't really care. But I cared.
Surprise, surprise, the show slowly started getting an audience. It grew and grew. It was a nutty show, but guest artists not only enjoyed being on the show they were getting great exposure for what they were plugging (their albums, films, and single records). After three years, I added teen-agers to the mix, threw out all those commercials and the show became, "The Lloyd Thaxton Show." The rest, as they say, is TV history.
I wish I had tapes of Lloyd Thaxton's Record Shop. There was no tape then. Three years, five days a week, 52 weeks a year LIVE and all on one camera. We would go from a serious interview to my putting my lips through an album cover and syncing a song from my guest's new album. And then I would open my three-ring binder and start reading the commercials. I'm still asking, "who would watch a show like this?"