Way back in October, people were already saying that NBC's 30 Rock had exhausted its "Yes it's a product placement, but it's also a funny storyline!" justification. Oh, how wrong they were. Mmm, McFlurry!

This week's episode featured Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek sexily purring over the greatness of the McD's Blizzard knockoff, the McFlurry. It wasn't the clever, winking product placement that can get away with itself; it was more like bad ad copy. You can only do the clever, winking thing a few times, and it burns itself out. NBC boy wonder Ben Silverman's enthusiastic embrace of product placement is just as tight as ever, because the money it brings in could be the one of the only things helping him hang onto his job.

So you should actually expect to see more shit like this in the shows you thought were too cool for it. It's the new price they have to pay to remain on air. As Michael Hirschorn points out, the wave of the future is more and more disposable crap coming to prime time TV (including, he thinks, "the Today show, or some version thereof" moving to an 8 p.m. slot). Jay Leno was only the beginning. [NY Mag]