Product placement increased by 30 percent last year; Contender had 7,514 product appearances; Idol 3,497; EMHE 3,318

Back when we were young and innocent, Jeff Probst would hold up a bag of Doritos and offer them as a reward, and we’d laugh and think to ourselves, “Silly Jeff, you’re whoring Doritos.”

That was then. Last year, there was a 30 percent increase in product placement and appearances on network prime-time TV, to 106,808 occurrances, according to RealScreen magazine, which compiled Nielsen numbers. Products were on TV for 191 hours last year. (As these are “occurances,” they aren’t necessarily paid advertisements, and they include both audio and visual mentions.)

Perhaps surprisingly, the show that whored itself out the most was The Contender, which had 7,514 “brand occurances,” for a total of “just under 12 hours.” The logos on the clothing and boxing gloves probably helped, as the show ran for just 15 episodes.

For almost seven hours, over 43 episodes, American Idol 4 featured 3,497 brand occurances, which is not at all surprising. However, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had about twice as many episodes (73), but produced just shy of Idol’s number, for a total of 3,318. Of those, 847 were “audio hits.”

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