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Picks and Pans Main: Tube

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Look, I know television is a commercial medium, but this is getting ridiculous. In one of his colorful rooftop spots for Nike, Spike Lee pulls out two videotapes of his own movies and recommends that people go rent them. Hey, a commercial within a commercial. In the first game of the NBA championship series on NBC, Michael Jordan’s father, James, was interviewed in the stands about the record-breaking game his son was playing. James responded, “Today…he’s eaten his Wheaties, drank his Gatorade, and he’s wearing his Hanes underwear.” Wow! The elder Jordan may be a better athlete than his offspring—in one sentence he nimbly executed the rarely attempted triple endorsement. Maybe TV is missing some other obvious revenue streams. There’s product placement. Have Peter Jennings sip from a strategically placed can of cola during the news. How about series sponsors? You’d have campaigns like, “Starks, the official beer of Cheers. Norm says, ‘It’s the one to have, burp, when you’re having more than 10.’ ”