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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 11:50 GMT
24 strikes sponsor deal
Cast of 24
24's first cast: Second series is starting in the US
The entire first episode of the second series of hit US drama 24 will be sponsored by car giant Ford and will be shown without advertising breaks.

The deal, similar to ones struck in the early days of TV when one company sponsored an entire programme, will see the drama's star Keifer Sutherland driving a Ford Expedition in the first episode.


It's an additional way, an innovative way to break through the clutter

Rick Novak, Ford
The first episode, shown on Tuesday night, will be begin and end with two three-minute Ford adverts and Sutherland will also speak before the programme thanking the firm for its support.

The actor will be seen driving other Ford cars in later episodes.

Uncut

The deal could have implications for screenings in the UK because the BBC, which has the rights to the show, bans advertising and product placement.

Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper appeared in the first series
A BBC spokeswoman said it could not comment until it had seen the episode.

But it is thought that the programme will be able to be shown uncut after the Ford adverts and Sutherland's opening address are removed because the use of the Ford Expedition has no impact on the script.

24 was a hit in the US and UK earlier this year, focusing on an attempt to assassinate a presidential candidate.

'Hero shots'

The programme appealed to many viewers because of its unusual structure - each episode was shot to resemble exactly one hour of real time and the 24 episodes made up one complete day.

Rick Novak, head of car advertising for Ford, said: "We want a lot of good hero shots for our vehicles."

"It's an additional way, an innovative way to break through the clutter."

Companies are attracted to the idea of sponsoring an entire show and using product placement because it prevents viewers using Tivo-like devices to skip adverts and allows them to target specific viewing groups.

Ford, which previously sponsored a commercial-free broadcast of the film Schindler's List and sponsored Fox's American Idol programme, will also have product placements in the upcoming James Bond film Die Another Day.

See also:

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