The Blur


Talking about “Access Hollywood,” I flipped the dial in early fringe last night to see what competitor “Extra” was up to. I was aghast. While “Access” was promoting its upcoming Scientology infomercial featuring PR command and control celebrity Tom Cruise, “Extra” was airing its own infomercial for a line of cosmetics under the guise of its regular “Hot New Stuff” segment.

Either this was a brilliant PR “placement,” or the manufacturers of the featured products were advertisers on the program. It likely passed muster with “Extra” because some B-list celebrities were featured even though their financial relationship with the touted products was murky to say the least.

It’s no wonder FCC member Jonathan Adelstein is putting pressure on TV programmers and marketers to tone down the insipid practice of product placement. I know Access and Extra are not governed by the same rules as TV news programming, but I also suspect that most consumers don’t make the distinction.