Geico Cavemen on ABC: Kill The Dinosaurs!

In case you weren’t quite sure exactly why traditional media outlets are dying (hint: it’s not that the internet is killing it - Web content is just filling an ever-larger void), consider this nugget: ABC is actually going to air a sitcom based on the cavemen from the Geico Insurance advertisements. It’s been rumored for awhile now, but I never thought they would actually go through with it. Kevin==wrong.

Commercials turning into television shows? Aren’t the lines blurred enough already, with rampant product placement, and a 3:1 ratio of programming to ads? I can’t imagine any circumstances in which this show could possibly be funny. The commercials, sure, were amusing (the first time), but they lack any real substance - something that could make them really funny. It’s just lame situational humor that not-so-subtly pokes fun at the politically correct times in which we live in (grammar joke, couldn’t resist).

I’ve thought for some time that the divide between programming and advertising will shrink - as shows become shorter to fit on the Web (and our attention spans), and commercials become longer, more sequential, in order to entice an audience to watch them when they can just as easily skip past. TV shows more like commercials, and commercials more like shows. The caveman ads did this (now that they’ve become a show, however, I’m not sure what that means - what happens if Geico advertises during it?), and the much loved/loathed Mac vs. PC spots do, too. People actually get excited when Apple releases new “episodes” in this campaign. Doesn’t that go against all conventional wisdom? And hasn’t it been tremendously successful?

There are so many interesting questions here. As the networks struggle to stay afloat while their viewers’ eyes drift away to newer, more exciting, more original programming on the Web, I think we’ll continue to see crazy stunts like the one ABC is pulling with the caveman sitcom. Desperation has definitely set in.

But this might be the tipping point. We all know, of course, that once the cavemen arrived on Earth, they killed off all the dinosaurs for good.