Hello out there TV land. You are producing content for television. You do an hour show. You need to leave 12-16 minutes open to pay the freight. Why eat up a whole minute with opening credits? After the third season of ER, I didn’t have to see the blue green snippets of the cast- I knew who they were- and the “theme music” that too got old…
This is what the VCR fast forward was for- and TiVo only made it easier.
So, instead of spending a ton of money with a composer and a “title” house like Digital Kitchen (who did the openings title sequences for shows like Six Feet Under, House and Nip Tuck) or Imaginary Forces (who did The Practice and Homicide) you could actually use that time to put relevant content on the air.
Some shows that don’t waste viewers time with this dated concept are: 24, where the previous shows are recapped to introduce the characters, Lost where the show just begins and sooner or later you get a one word title for all of a few seconds before a break.
Paraphrase what Howard Luck Gossage said about ads to main title sequences- people watch what interests them, and sometimes it’s opening credits- and think, is this content, or fluff?
Time is money, and airtime is valuable as well as the viewer’s time. By moving straight to content you are making better use of resources. Granted extra minutes of shows cost money to produce, but the longer you make your mandated viewing appointment, the better your chance to give advertisers value. Watch the lead in for Fox’s 24. “A new episode of 24 starts now” and there it is- cut to the chase (often literally) and you’re off and running. Compare that with ER, where if you miss the first few minutes, you haven’t missed much. “Must see TV” my rear end.
Television is not a place for small talk. People come to be informed or entertained, not played with. Once you begin to understand what consumers want, you have a better chance of gaining their “friendship.”
Some other things to consider: with people meters recording viewing habits there is less need for recall ID. Also, with interactive program guides and program meta data readily available, I can click on the guide or info button, and get all that info from the opening credits- plus a synopsis. With web links coming, and tv content search engines (see blinkx.tv) I can even find out details in depth about each actor. I don’t need your opening credits.
Take this one more step- local news: if you think your super busy graphics package that opens your show is worth any more than last weeks front page, think again. Same goes for your “teasers” coming up next- just give us the short bullet, real info- we’ll click though if you have a credible record of getting the story right, if not, we’ll click to your competitor, no matter how many times you say “exclusive.”
I guess it comes back to content is king.
Give me something new, fresh, relevant, or the viewer is gone. Skip intro is the future of TV.

What do you think?