time to switch channels
It's officially campaign season, meaning that political ads are practically everywhere on television. But how do campaigns decide which shows and channels are worthy of advertising against? Roll Call reports that "operatives repeatedly said they look for three kinds of programs for political ads: Live events, and shows that attract women and seniors."
Favored shows include sports games (mainly football) and reality TV competitions (think live episodes of American Idol or Dancing With The Stars) — anything viewers tend to watch live instead of recording for later viewing (when they can skip commercials) or watch online. Daytime talk shows and game shows, cable news, and season premieres are all top choices for political ad placement, as is CBS primetime (The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-o), which draws an older audience.
On the flip side, voters don't think very favorably of politicians immediately after watching the Jerry Springer Show, and it's tough to sell a campaign platform in between commercials for toys and candy on networks like Nickelodeon. In fact, there are several shows and channels you can count on to be free of political ads this election season, because politicians have pretty specific preferences for when and where they'll air campaign promotions.
Sometimes the decision is based on content, as with trash TV like Springer and Maury. These shows are avoided for political ads because, as one Democratic consultant put it, "You're watching it and these people are screaming and yelling at each other about a baby daddy, and I don't want my handsome congressman coming on next about how he's making a difference." Kids' channels like Nickelodeon are off the table because the tone just isn't right; and edgier and less family-friendly channels like Comedy Central are rejected by more conservative candidates.
So basically, if you want to avoid the onslaught of political ads this fall, iCarly and Maury Povich are your new best friends.