In Depth

'Kid Nation': Heavy on Tears, Light on Ads

No Commercials for First 38 Minutes of Premiere

Did CBS sell enough ads for the first episode of "Kid Nation" to warrant giving out a $20,000 gold star to one of the program's young participants? The premiere episode of the show, which aired Sept. 19, ran for over an hour and contained just around six minutes' worth of commercials. The first ad didn't run until about 38 minutes of "Kid Nation" had aired.

The show ran until about 9:06 p.m. Eastern time and included only three ad breaks, which contained commercials for films from Time Warner's Warner Brothers and News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox; Sears; Chattem's Icy Hot pain reliever; Combe's Vagisil; Capital One; and L'Oreal's Maybelline cosmetics. (The marketers didn't respond to calls seeking comment.)

Different next week?
CBS has employed the strategy of running a longer-than-usual program with a lighter-than-normal commercial load in the past, according to a CBS spokeswoman, and has used it with "Survivor," she said. "Kid Nation" will run in its normal length next week and will contain "a regular and full" commercial load, said Shannon Jacobs, the spokeswoman. She declined to name next week's advertisers and declined to comment on whether the marketers appearing Wednesday night had appeared as part of any special ad deals.

"Kid Nation" has stirred controversy in recent weeks, as critics wondered how the 40 kids who took part in the program -- which puts the youngsters through their paces as they try to create a society in the New Mexico frontier town of Bonanza -- were treated during production. Many of CBS's top advertisers indicated to Advertising Age before the program launched that they were taking a pass on the program.

For its part, CBS screened the show for media buyers and advertisers, as well as schoolchildren. The network has not made the program available for viewing by the media, as is the norm.

The first episode of "Kid Nation" did feature kids crying, falling down, bullying each other, dithering about whether to opt for multiple outhouses or a big-screen TV, cooking biscuits from scratch and arguing among themselves. A few of the tykes were homesick. But only one eight-year-old, Jimmy, opted to leave the show near the end of the Wednesday's episode. Meaning next week, there's still 39 kids left to fight, cry and complain.

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Comments 23

MICHELE WATERMAN

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MY MOTHER AND I WATCHED IT, AND IT WAS GREAT...I WAS ANTICIPATING IT AND KNEW IT WOULD BE GOOD. THOSE OLDER BOYS RUNNING THE STORES???? I SMELL TROUBLE AHEAD....THE SNOTTY CHICK GOT THE GOLDEN STAR AND $20,000....WAY TO GO....I'M SORRY JEREMY LEFT...HE SHOULD'VE STAYED...HE WAS SO CUTE WITH THAT HAIR...BUT TAYLOR STAYED~!!! I'M GOING TO ENJOY THIS SHOW...TAKING THE PLACE OF MY BIG BROTHER...WAY TO GO "EVIL DICK"!!!!!!!

CARLA FREEMAN

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My opinion on kid nation:
It is a great show that kids any age can enjoy. I seems to really teach kids to be adults. I think that along with tears, it brings smiles. I couldn't believe the $20,000! I would be so proud! It is a very dramatic show too. Poor Jeremy. He seemed very nice. I am going to make this one of my shows that I watch every night.

CARLA FREEMAN

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My opinion on kid nation:
It is a great show that kids any age can enjoy. I seems to really teach kids to be adults. I think that along with tears, it brings smiles. I couldn't believe the $20,000! I would be so proud! It is a very dramatic show too. Poor Jeremy. He seemed very nice. I am going to make this one of my shows that I watch every night.

CARLA FREEMAN

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My opinion on kid nation:
It is a great show that kids any age can enjoy. I seems to really teach kids to be adults. I think that along with tears, it brings smiles. I couldn't believe the $20,000! I would be so proud! It is a very dramatic show too. Poor Jeremy. He seemed very nice. I am going to make this one of my shows that I watch every night.

CARLA FREEMAN

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My opinion on kid nation:
It is a great show that kids any age can enjoy. I seems to really teach kids to be adults. I think that along with tears, it brings smiles. I couldn't believe the $20,000! I would be so proud! It is a very dramatic show too. Poor Jeremy. He seemed very nice. I am going to make this one of my shows that I watch every night.

Susan McNaughton

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good job producers!!!
love the show!!

Susan McNaughton

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good job producers!!!
love the show!!

Susan McNaughton

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good job producers!!!
love the show!!

Susan McNaughton

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good job producers!!!
love the show!!

Susan McNaughton

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good job producers!!!
love the show!!

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I was a little hesistant at first to watch this show, with all the bad press it has been getting. However, after the hour plus premiere, I have to say, that it was a very entertaining show. There are favorites and there are those who have yet to show themselves. Also, since they are kids, you are hoping that the troublemakers learn a lesson. Whereas unlike most reality shows, where there are some people you dislike, this show's contestants are all being cheered on by the viewers. There was no distastefulness in the first episode, so advertisers may want to change their tune. However, perhaps, they should air on the side caution and wait after next week's show to put their wallets into CBS's fund.

steve

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The advertisers are going to be begging to have their spots on this show sooner than later. This is actually one reality show worth watching.

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What a natural for a tv show..it's got the demo all the ad people want...like viva la bamba where teens run everything!.kid have alway liked this kind of thing and always will.The fact the ad people are afraid of it is because they have been blindsided by scandals before.I'm sure they love the demo

Liz

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Do all of you people for CBS? This show is as bad as it gets!

Liz

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Are you people kidding or does CBS sign your paychecks? If this show is any indication of new fall programming I'm afraid for network television!

JJ

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You're right Liz, it sniffs heavily that those commenters do work for CBS, especially 'Carla Freeman' who writes "kids any age can enjoy" -- sounds like she is desperate to convince her little ad buyers that the show has product purchasers of all ages watching. It's about as transparent as it gets.

But if wrong on that, perhaps these commenters are parents of the kids, that clump of parents shallow enough to actually put their kids on the show -- those parents who kidded themselves that putting their kids on stage for public mockery is "opportunity", rather than being very obvious attention-seeking desperation on the part of needy parents.

Worse yet, maybe they are just some of those somewhat brain dead Americans who spend their time watching shows like this and call it productivity, entertainment. It'd be laughable, if it weren't so pathetic. They are probably the same Americans who like watching someone get hurt, get bullied, get derailed -- hardly a lot I'd wish to join.

Leslie Moonves has failed again - - the man who takes pride in degradation, even of himself - and then calls it success. Any man can destroy. It's takes a leader to produce something of value. That he has not.

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