So, it seems as though the writers will be heading back to work soon. There is not yet a complete list of which shows will resume production for the spring, will shows will just opt to return in the fall, and which shows will never be heard from again. Partial lists have been compiled, but until the writers vote to return to work it's all relatively speculative anyway. Therefore, let's ignore all of that for now and focus on what matters, namely, American Gladiators.
You think I jest, but I do not. We're talking about American Gladiators whether you like it or not (admit it, you like it, you just don't want anyone to know). I like it too, but I have some reservations. The 90 minute editions NBC has been airing for the semi-finals add in one more event, which I think is better for the show, but the longer edition also sports an extra 15 or 20 minutes of commercials. No joke. I started watching it on my TiVo about 10 minutes late last night, had caught up before we were at the 30 minute mark, and paused and restarted the show several more times before all was said and done. It certainly felt like at least half the show was commercials.
To be clear, I'm not saying half the show was commercials, just that it felt like it. And whether it was or it wasn't, if it felt like it there's a problem. Somehow the producers have to figure out a way to restructure the breaks so that the perceived commercial time decreases. Cynics out there would argue that they've already done as much, and what felt like half the show being commercials was probably closer to two-thirds, but I doubt that.
Gladiators has this horrific, momentum killing tactic of going to a commercial break just as the contestant is about to start an event. I know that the contestant doesn't actually have to wait for the show to return to start the event (it is all pre-recorded), but the momentum for the audience is still disrupted. But, these 90 minute shows apparently even go to commercial before the first event takes place. Last night, after a little recap of what the male contestants did in their preliminary rounds, the show went to commercial. It was six minutes in before the first event started. That's an awful long time when you consider that fact that each contestant is only doing five events plus the Eliminator.