CBS has struck a deal to show the premiere of its new crime drama "Smith" with only a couple of commercial breaks, and the agreement is positively bursting with synergy.
The series stars Ray Liotta as a professional thief who keeps his life secret from his wife (Virginia Madsen) and is produced by Warner Bros. TV. The premiere will be sponsored by the forthcoming movie "The Departed," which is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures.
"The Departed" is directed by Martin Scorsese, who, you might recall, directed Liotta in his breakout "Goodfellas" role.
The Warner Bros. sponsorship of the "Smith" premiere solves a scheduling issue for CBS. The show's pilot runs nearly an hour without commercials -- as opposed to the 42 to 44 minutes for your average TV drama -- so the network would have either had to make substantial cuts to the episode, limit the ad breaks or run a 90-minute premiere.
Series creator John Wells wasn't about to do the first one, and since it's a 10 p.m. show, a 90-minute premiere might have been problematic. Thus, "The Departed."
"Smith" also stars Simon Baker ("The Guardian"), Amy Smart ("Crank"), Jonny Lee Miller ("Aeon Flux"), Franky G ("Jonny Zero"), Shohreh Aghdashloo ("24") and Chris Bauer ("The Wire"). It premieres Tuesday, Sept. 19.