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NBC wants to make '1MM' a commercial success

September 27, 2003|Scott Sandell | Times Staff Writer

In a new twist on an old joke, NBC really did interrupt the commercials Thursday night to bring viewers a film on TV. Or rather, two halves of a film spaced about six minutes apart.

Oh, and this movie was only a minute total.

Indeed, the premiere of "1MM" was as short as the hot pants of its stars, Carmen Electra and the Pussycat Dolls, a burlesque act that's torn up the Hollywood scene. After seeing the film, you could reasonably ask whether the title refers to its being a "one-minute movie" or the thickness of its plot, as measured in the metric system.

Blink, and you might have missed the 30-second first half, among ads for everything from McDonalds to Mercedes-Benz, about 9:23 p.m. during the season-opener of "Will & Grace." As the credits for the film scrolled across the bottom of the screen, the scantily clad Electra walked down an aisle on a train, distracted a man with a bag of diamonds, and snatched the loot.

Whew, intermission time.

The thrilling conclusion came during a pause in "Coupling." Electra switched the rhinestones on her outfit with the diamonds, she and the Dolls performed, the man tried to foil the heist, but Electra wound up with the gems, bound for Monte Carlo.

All of which raises the question: What was the point?

When it comes down to it, the "1MM" series -- NBC has reportedly commissioned 10 so far -- is about keeping viewers locked in during commercial breaks. (Though the network is touting it as "innovative," such programming isn't exactly new -- in Germany, they've interspersed cartoons in the ads for years.)

Yet even after Electra's revealing performance, you have to wonder if this will really help NBC. It could score the Pussycat Dolls a few more gigs, though.

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