7:45 a.m. — An image of South Park's Cartman and crew is on CNBC as the business-news channel reports that Viacom Inc. will purchase the 50 percent of Comedy Central that it doesn't own from AOL Time Warner Inc. The Learning Annex's spot touts a one-day real-estate seminar on how to capitalize on foreclosures and mortgage rates.
8-8:30 a.m. — Tours of TNN (Bowflex exercise equipment), Bravo (Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle workout), National Geographic Channel (the Medicus 2000 golf club), Discovery Channel (Guthy-Renker for Winsor Pilates) and Travel Channel (more Tony Robbins' life-changing babble) confirm the notion that early morning on basic is infomercial city.
8:22 a.m. — The local break on ESPN's SportsCenter proffers several objects of male viewers' affection: Hooters Airline, which flies from Newark to Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and a local Nissan dealer hoping to drive sales for its Pathfinder model.
Actually, I was expecting to find long-running, quirky local ads for Mayer Volkswagen (in which thickly accented proprietor Angelo offers $100 bills as an incentive to visit the showroom) and Honda Bob's (a hippie biker retailer who recently added an animated ending depicting him on his hog) here, or certainly at some point throughout the day. Alas, I never saw the commercials.
8:52 a.m. — ESPN2 reruns original film The Junction Boys, about a tough-acting and straight-talking football coaching legend, the late Bear Bryant.
But the local break initially speaks hoops: a billboard indicating that Turner Network Television's coverage of National Basketball Association playoff action is brought to viewers locally by Ford.
9:16 a.m. — TBS Superstation is running weeks of the recently acquired Dawson's Creek, in part to promote the primetime soap's series concluder. Van Der Beek and Co. might have been hip with the teen set several seasons back, but sponsor Health Insurance Plan of New York appeals to parents.
9:30 a.m. — After Pam Anderson comes up big on TNN's V.I.P, former New York pro jocks Keith Hernandez (Mets) and Walt Frazier (Knicks) provide play-by-play and commentary about a middle-ager getting rejected by a comely lass. ("No play for Mr. Gray," intones Clyde.) After he brushes on Just for Men, she waltzes him away on the dance floor.
9:52 a.m. — ESPN2 looks to lure viewers with Outfitters World, while Boater's World wants to bait the marine lovers. Talk about targeting: One of the retailer's outlets is located on my street. Now, if only I had something to put in that berth in the Mamaroneck Harbor.
10:58 a.m. — On the local pod on Cablevision's News 12, Optimum Online, the MSO's high-speed data service, gets the first call. But then the stentorian tones of James Earl Jones sound for Verizon Variations, the Baby Bell's bundle of local, long-distance and DSL offerings.
Talk about not protecting your home court. This odd pairing occurs a couple of other times on News 12 that day. This pod also contains a spot for the New York Auto Show.
11:17 a.m. — An appropriate ad placement environment within Food Network's Melting Pot: The New York Culinary Institute on Manhattan's 23rd Street is seeking would-be chefs.
12:47 p.m. — It may be Power Lunch on CNBC, but things are little bit more mundane during the local break, where the spots ask viewers to consider Tiso Appliances in Pelham, Demirijan Hair Removal in White Plains, and that city's Dodge dealership. Indeed, I probably saw more spots for White Plains Dodge than any for other local advertiser.
2:19 p.m. — My colleague in Denver is not alone in espying The E! True Hollywood Story. While Richard Simmons may enjoy the gyrations of the Superman ride at Six Flags, he wouldn't approve of the ad for regional supermarket chain Pathmark, because it doesn't trumpet the produce or health food sections.
2:25 p.m. — Elvis is in the islands, as AMC presents Blue Hawaii. Whatever building The King is in now, he could no doubt benefit from some plastic surgery from a local Westchester County doctor. Then, Presley could limo to the Bronx's City Island, and suck down oysters at Sammy's Fishbox eatery.
2:46 p.m. — Mr. T. pities the fools who don't steer toward the Curry Ford, Chevy and Acura after seeing the dealership's ad on the A-Team on TV Land.
7 p.m. — Need to enclose your yard? Those watching News 12 are encouraged to call King Fences.
10:33 p.m. — The Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves are having at in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series on TNT. There's a full court press from local Ford and Mercedes dealership groups. One would have to suspect they paid a premium for this valuable spot in a contest that pulled a 3.8, so auto-category pod protection be damned.
10:39 p.m. — It's Game 7 of the first-round of the National Hockey League playoffs matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and the upstart Minnesota Wild on ESPN. The break serves up yet another local car dealership, Curry Audi and The Living Showroom, a furniture retailer in White Plains, which also ran on FX's M*A*S*H earlier in the day.
10:49 p.m. — A break in the encore edition of FX's original series Lucky carries a spot for beer brand Bass, which is brought to those locally courtesy of Guinness Imports in nearby Stamford, Conn. Over the course of the next hour, I also see Bass ads on several sports news shows and Seinfeld on TBS. The spot in the Lucky pod is followed by one for Seaman's Furniture. After viewing all these shows and spots, a good night's sleep is in order.
11:22 p.m. — Late-night proffers plenty of promos for Cablevision services. USA Network's Nashville Star may be showcasing the brightest up-and-comers in country music talent, but a local pod features a branding spot for Cablevision's iO: Interactive Optimum digital.
Midnight — The clock is about to strike 12 on this TV-watching pumpkin, but before sign off a quick turn to ABC Family's 700 Club reveals a promo for The Caroline Rhea Show, a spot for local Rye retailer Stone Age, and an iO tout for Bronx Bombers coverage via Cablevision's new teammate, YES Network. Goodnight, Mikey.