Monday, June 26, 2006

Viacom... a bunch of sneaky buggers!

It is strange when a few facts fall together to give you a much clearer picture of a situation.

You see, I was elated by the announcement a few days ago about Futurama's return with new episodes, and surprised by how unexpected the decision seemed.

And then I saw something this evening which sort of shed some light on a few things. You see, I was at Youtube looking for a particular Warner Brothers cartoon(which had been deleted because of copyright infringement), and I happened upon another piece of animated fare.

In "response" to the original trailer to An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore appeared in a second video as an animated character... alongside Bender. The video was released 2 days ago... making it correspond with the press release about Comedy Central picking up Futurama for 13 episodes.


Now, we all know that it takes some months to put together a traditionally animated cartoon, so this must have been in the works for some time. And why would Viacom's Paramount Classics division use a well-known, but not profitable set of characters to "critique" its own movie trailer? Surely it couldn't have been coincidental that the flick came out the day of the announcement, could it?

If they knew that they were going to be bringing the show back, then really it was a no-brainer for them, wasn't it. I mean, Al Gore had an existing relationship with the show, and if Viacom's Comedy Central was going to be showing new episodes, well, it is win-win for them, isn't it. They get extra advertising and attention for a documentary while giving Futurama fans something to chew on while they wait for the DVDs and the new series to come out.

All in all, this seems like a rather slick set of moves on Viacom's part to get two brands out there working for them at the same time while encouraging people who may not like one message to view another. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

9 comments:

Lynda said...

I have come to believe that in TV land nothing is coincidental.

Anonymous said...

I have worked in the media industry for years. It is a VERY small world and Lynda is correct, in my experience nothing is coincidental.

MC said...

Thank you both for agreeing with me.

Schadenfreude said...

I also gotta agree -- nothing is ever produced in terms of movies or TV and makes it to the big or little screen unless at least some focus groups and/or test audiences blessed it first. Nuh uh, no happy accidents.

MC said...

You would at least think they would perhaps not be so transparent about it though.

Angry said...

OR... any talk is good talk and we, along with many others, are talking about it...

Mission accomplished.

MC said...

I haven't read any other entries at technorati about this odd alignment of properties just yet.

Anonymous said...

Adult Swim on Cartoon network announced the production of new Futurama episodes several months ago.

MC said...

There was an interview from the onion's AV club in late April of this year with Matt Groening about the new Futurama DVD's

http://www.avclub.com/content/node/47771/1

Even in that interview, if what you say is true, than apparently he wasn't aware of that announcement, because when asked about the possibility of the show returning he answered:

"MG: Certainly. That's always a possibility. Look at the example of Family Guy, which came back from the dead and is walking among us."

But again, given the time it takes to do traditional animation, would he not have already done work on the Inconvenient Truth short, so I think he knew all along that it was coming back and was just playing it coy.