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'When SpongeBob Gets Upset, He Calls Stephen Colbert'

If you don’t have a dog in the fight, carriage feuds can provide high-quality entertainment.

For the current DirecTV-Viacom standoff, in which 17 networks winked off the satellite service last night at midnight, the media company crafted a deft parody of the DBS operator’s current “get rid of cable” ad campaign featuring its own cast of characters (see Viacom Nets Pulled Off DirecTV).

Viacom’s anti-DirecTV video clip even includes a pitch-perfect deadpan narrator:

“When DirecTV drops your favorite channels, SpongeBob gets upset. When SpongeBob gets upset, he calls Stephen Colbert. When he calls Stephen Colbert, Colbert rallies the troops. When Colbert rallies the troops, Elka [Betty White in TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland] calls for alien backup. And when Elka calls for alien backup, Cartman gets a satellite lodged up his ass. Don’t let Cartman get a satellite lodged up his ass. Call DirecTV now at 800-531-5000 and demand that DirecTV keeps your favorite channels.”

Funny. But of course, Viacom is in the business of creating entertainment.

It figures that the agitprop on the operator side is, by comparison, a real snoozer. DirecTV’s site ( features CEO Mike White sitting on a desk in a wood-paneled office, placidly telling the viewer that “unfortunately Viacom has decided to take their channels away from our customers. It’s a temporary and regrettable tactic to try to force you to pay substantially more for their networks — even the ones you don’t watch or care about.”

DirecTV claims on its website that switching to cable “isn’t the answer” since “switching providers only makes it easier for programmers to increase your monthly bill no matter who provides your TV service.”

A valid point — but it’s still amusing to see DirecTV hoist by its own “get rid of cable” petard.

As BTIG Research’s Rich Greenfield tweeted, “No @AMC_TV on @dish, no @Viacom nets on @directv - cable industry appears to be the big winner today!”

Here’s the Viacom parody:


Programming Note: Find out how operators and media companies are tapping into cloud-based technologies at TV’s Cloud Power, Thursday, July 19, at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. Scheduled speakers include TiVo CEO Tom Rogers; IBM Global Business Services’ Bob Fox; PwC’s Gordon Castle; Verizon FiOS’s Maitreyi Krishnaswamy; and Current Analysis’ Ron Westfall.