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‘Lite-Brite’ scare helped wrong way

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Todd Vanderlin/associated press


The promotional gizmo for TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.





ADULT SINK OR SWIM? One of last week’s biggest stories was the panic in Boston when a bunch of promotional gizmos cooked up to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a Cartoon Network show, were mistaken for what were assumed to be weapons of mass destruction, or something like that. Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of Cartoon Network, offered to pay for the costs the city incurred trying to neutralize the devices, “which resemble Lite-Brite boards” according to a New York Times story.


Which might make the whole thing look like a publicity stunt gone very wrong, if you think there’s even such a thing. A MediaDailyNews story on the aftermath revealed that, on the day after the incident, traffic to the websites for the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, the programming block where Aqua Teen Hunger Force airs, jumped 77 per cent over the previous week.


“People are talking about it, and they're linking everywhere. They're probably hearing about Adult Swim for the first time," Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Nielsen BuzzMetrics, told MediaDailyNews.


Ratings are a slightly different story, with household ratings for the show jumping 20 per cent on the day after the Boston incident, but in the male 18-34 demographic that Adult Swim typically targets, viewership actually dropped by around 4 per cent. Which means that every newsroom and idle web surfer Googled the show, and a percentage of that number actually tuned in to watch the show – muttering “What the hell?” to themselves the whole time.


In the meantime, a small portion of the show’s loyal core audience decided to give it a skip, deciding that since it was news, it was “toast, baby – totally over. Time to find a new drug, in the immortal words of Huey Lewis, my friend.” Shaking their head sadly when they realized they were talking to themselves again, they put another frozen burrito in the microwave, thought better about doing the laundry that night, and turned on the PS3 instead.





NOBODY WILL WATCH: Nobody’s Watching, the too-ironic-for-words failed TV pilot that became a YouTube sensation, won’t bet getting a live prime time special revival, according to a story on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s website. Announced at the TV critic’s press tour last month, it was never given a broadcast slot, and has apparently been silently allowed to die, according to a source at NBC. Executive producer had leaked news of the special at a Scrubs press conference, said that the actors’ contracts expire at the end of the month, and that he’s stopped making videos for the show’s website. “If I kept doing it and nothing happens, I'd have to kill myself," he told Rob Owen, TV critic for the Post-Gazette.



rick.mcginnis@metronews.ca

 
 
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