TNT-TBS May Have to Backtrack on Fewer Ads, Kevin Reilly Says

TCA 2016: That’s if the industry doesn’t follow suit, at least

Last Updated: July 31, 2016 @ 5:03 PM

TBS and TNT President Kevin Reilly loves this reduced ad-load thing, but he admits his channels will have to revert back to the old way if it doesn’t catch on.

“We cannot go it alone,” he said on Sunday. “I can do both networks 24 hours a day, and if we’re the only two networks doing it, it’s not going to change the industry and we’re going to have to go back.”

But, I believe that everyone knows it’s time to make that change, and I think the data points in the right direction,” Reilly continued during his executive session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.

“The showrunners love it, obviously,” he added. “Now, they’ve got to generate the material, so it’s sort of like, be careful what you wish for.”

The leaders of Reilly’s respective writers’ rooms are not the only ones who prefer the shift — the Turner Entertainment chief creative officer says focus groups have noted a preference for the lighter commercial breaks.

Right now, the plan is to shave about 10 minutes per hour through fewer ads, though without reducing the number of actual breaks. All new TNT originals will follow the groundbreaking model in 2017; Reilly hopes TBS will follow suit the following year.