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Subject: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: red06 on 02/06/09 at 10:22 pm

Hi everyoone

so i googles this question and i got the following from wikipedia

"In the 1960s a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes excluding advertisements. Today, a similar program would only be 42 minutes long; a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local"

Does anyone know more about this...like

1. who sets this standard...is there a governing board like the FCC

2. was this change gradual...or suden....and when did this change take place

3. From the wiki article can i infer that at one point 30 min shows were 25 min show and 5 min commercial

I wam curious about this subject after reading some things about the release of the "WKRP in Cincinnati" dvd release

thanks for anything you can add


Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: snozberries on 02/06/09 at 10:44 pm


Hi everyoone

so i googles this question and i got the following from wikipedia

"In the 1960s a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes excluding advertisements. Today, a similar program would only be 42 minutes long; a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local"

Does anyone know more about this...like

1. who sets this standard...is there a governing board like the FCC

2. was this change gradual...or suden....and when did this change take place

3. From the wiki article can i infer that at one point 30 min shows were 25 min show and 5 min commercial

I wam curious about this subject after reading some things about the release of the "WKRP in Cincinnati" dvd release

thanks for anything you can add




the change came about in the late 80s and just continued along that trend....

hour long shows were 54 minutes and gradually went down to 51 and then in the 80s it got down to 47 minutes... by the 90s we were down to 42 minutes....
This change also reflects the decline in traditional theme songs... they had to trim somewhere to keep scripted content and yet add more ads.

You can actually follow the trend by watching Chuck Woolery on Love Connection.  He used to say we'll be back in two minutes then it was two and two which meant two minutes twenty seconds.

its all about money- the more shows cost to produce the more revenue the networks needed to generate.

You can actually track changes to MTV... dramas were pretty straight forward....talk talk talk....then once MTV came along- we suddenly- apparently-- had attention deficit disorder or something because every thing suddenly moved faster. There were several more cuts/edits on hour long shows after MTV came on the scene

You can actually search on you tube commercials from specific decades to see how long individual ads were.

another thing to remember is there were far less sponsors and less competition.... there were only 3 or 4 channels in the 50s, a few more in the 60s then in the late 70s there was cable... by the 80s we had about 40 channels and now with satellite there are hundreds... so they have to get the money whereever they can which means more commercials....



Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: whistledog on 02/07/09 at 12:00 am

I know back in the 50s and 60s, alot of game and variety shows would do product placements on their show (ie: the host of the show would hold up a product and pitch it).  Don't know if they did this in lieu of commercials though, as I would think there would have to be commercials

Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: snozberries on 02/07/09 at 1:01 pm


I know back in the 50s and 60s, alot of game and variety shows would do product placements on their show (ie: the host of the show would hold up a product and pitch it).  Don't know if they did this in lieu of commercials though, as I would think there would have to be commercials



like these

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYkrN1E_FWA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MbKELs9WA8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFogTD0t5kM&feature=related


Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: red06 on 02/07/09 at 10:44 pm

Thaks snozberries

That is eaxactly the information I was looking for

By the way how do you come about knowing this info...do you juste remeber or have you looked into this as well

Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: snozberries on 02/07/09 at 11:55 pm


Thaks snozberries

That is eaxactly the information I was looking for

By the way how do you come about knowing this info...do you juste remeber or have you looked into this as well


studied film theory in college and took some TV courses as welll


Plus I'm a life long TV addict.... did you read the blurb under my name above my avatar  ;)

Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: yelimsexa on 02/08/09 at 12:09 am

Most TV shows in those decades were a half-hour long (except for primetime movies and dramas), and "marathons" were very rare until the early '90s, and not standard until the mid-00s, That's why more channels in not necessarily better. Also, in the early '70s you still had 60-second commercials mixed in commonly with the 30-second spots, and 15-second commercials became common in the early '90s.

It's sad how TV has changed over the past twenty years. It was really FUN in the '80s with not only good new programs by the traditional broadcasting networks but the commercials were catchier, MTV, Nickelodeon, The Weather Channel, Nick at Nite, AMC, and The Disney Channel all showed great programs. When the Internet took off in the mid-90s, TV's best years were definately behind itself.

Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: snozberries on 02/08/09 at 12:16 am


Most TV shows in those decades were a half-hour long (except for primetime movies and dramas), and "marathons" were very rare until the early '90s, and not standard until the mid-00s, That's why more channels in not necessarily better. Also, in the early '70s you still had 60-second commercials mixed in commonly with the 30-second spots, and 15-second commercials became common in the early '90s.

It's sad how TV has changed over the past twenty years. It was really FUN in the '80s with not only good new programs by the traditional broadcasting networks but the commercials were catchier, MTV, Nickelodeon, The Weather Channel, Nick at Nite, AMC, and The Disney Channel all showed great programs. When the Internet took off in the mid-90s, TV's best years were definately behind itself.


except that the advent of media on the go and DVDs allow you access to your favorite shows commercial free anytime you want.... I gotta say as much as I loved the 80s I love where technology has taken us! I could've really used DVDs back in the day!

Subject: Re: Anyone know how long tvshows - commercials were in the 70s/80s/90s

Written By: red06 on 02/10/09 at 5:04 pm


except that the advent of media on the go and DVDs allow you access to your favorite shows commercial free anytime you want.... I gotta say as much as I loved the 80s I love where technology has taken us! I could've really used DVDs back in the day!


Yes I woul have really loved dvd technology back in the day...wouldn't it be great to go back in time and record all those great shows and commercials as well.

Or beter yet a hard drive recoding thechnology in conjeunction with modern compression technology....imagine a pvr/ dvr unit with a usb coonection to witch you can attach and fill a 2 terabytes hd at a compression of 250mb per hr...that amounts to 8000 hr of video


I don't want to take this thread in a tangent

But one thing thats bothers me about the dvd release of these great shows is the re-editing, cutting and altering of the original show

From what i have read this all due to music copyright laws

Well "wkrp in Cincinnati" is the fabled example of this...it has been drastically altered...music has been cut/replaced...entire scenes cut, and dialogue replaced...not to mention the original "wkrp in Cincinnati" was 25 min long and the dvd version is 22 min syndicated versions.

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