Unauthorized Life After Death
Despite its short run, it is not doubtful that City would have remained in the memory banks of viewers because of its star power alone. However, the pilot episode of the series has continued to be seen by many around the world to this very day, through their participation in product and consumer research. Research Systems Corporation, which runs public invitation-only conventions known as The New Television Preview, had acquired selected copies of City episodes from CBS for showings at their public events, which were falsely passed off, along with actual unaired network pilots, as a test preview for a new series being considered for nationwide broadcast.
The actual objective of these focus groups is to test the live audience's emotions and reactions to advertising and product placement; the results are given to top marketers in order for them to keep promotional trends in sync with consumers. The so-called "new TV pilots" only serve the purpose of controlling the attention and emotions of viewers, and to give them something else to occupy their time with besides watching commercials. The general public, as well as press columnists, have accused Research Systems Corporation as using TV pilots and The New Television Preview as a way to deceive people into taking surveys and answering questionnaires on products rather than shows, and as a gateway for manufacturers to push their products on unassuming participants through telemarketing and mail offers (survey takers are asked to provide personal information before starting the process). The events are not only held in major cities across the United States, but also in many other markets abroad.
The research firm reportedly began this practice in the late 1990s, and the pilot episode of City has been seen in steady rotation with other pilot material that never aired since that time. Tony Cacciotti eventually found out that the show was being used for the research ploy and at one point even considered a lawsuit against Research Systems Corporation. In any event, attendees were not fooled by the inclusion of City's pilot episode in various meetings of The New Television Preview. Whether they remembered the program or not, it became more obvious that the show was not new or even being considered for current network pickup because of its age and the writing, which contained jokes and references to world culture c. 1990.
Read more about this topic: City (TV Series)
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