Paid Programming (TV pilot)

Paid Programming
Icelandic Ultra Blue.png
The pilot episode's title card.
Genre Comedy, Parody
Created by H. Jon Benjamin
David Cross
Starring Christopher Cusumano
Justine D'Amour
Michael Harrah
Ray Higgs
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 1
Executive producer(s) H. Jon Benjamin
David Cross
Producer(s) Jackie Stolfi
Running time 11 minutes
Production company(s) Williams Street
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format 16:9 HDTV
Original airing November 3, 2009

Paid Programming (also known as Paid Programming: Icelandic Ultra Blue or Icelandic Ultra Blue) is television pilot for Cartoon Network's late night programing block, Adult Swim. Paid Programming is a parody of infomercials, which was created and written by H. Jon Benjamin and David Cross,[1] and features amateur actors from Central Casting.[2] The pilot episode of Paid Programming premiered, unannounced, in the United States on November 3, 2009, and was then re-aired every Tuesday-Friday until December 4, 2009.



Paid Programming was created by H. Jon Benjamin and David Cross, who wrote and directed the pilot episode. Paid Programming was first announced at Dragon*Con 2009 in September 2009, were it was described as a "infomercial within an infomercial",[3] no other information was revealed at that time. Although Benjamin and Cross make voice cameos in the pilot, the cast of Paid Programming consists mainly of "non-recognizable" amateur actors from Central Casting.[2] The pilot does not feature any credits or production cards, and ended with a cliffhanger.[4] In a 2010 interview David Cross mentioned it was their intent to make Paid Programming as similar to a real infomercial as possible, in order to trick unsuspecting viewers into thinking it's a real infomercial; and was upset that the project was announced at Dragon*Con.[2] According to Benjamin and Cross, Adult Swim was only "semi-committed" to the project, and was worried that it would do poorly ratings wise.[2][1] Paid Programing was not picked up as a full series, as revealed when Benjamin referred to it as an "abject failure".[1]


Similar to the broadcast history of The Rising Son, another program on Adult Swim, the pilot episode of Paid Programming was aired in the United States on November 3, 2009 at 4:30 am (ET), unannounced and unadvertised,[1] and was listed as "SPECIAL" on the Adult Swim schedule. After the original debut of Paid Programing, Adult Swim re-aired the pilot every Tuesday-Friday until December 4, 2009. Unlike most programs from Adult Swim, the pilot episode is not currently available on DVD, iTunes, or the "Build Your Own DVD" feature on the Adult Swim website. Although Paid Programming has never been officially released to the public in any form of home media, Adult Swim periodically re-airs the pilot episode in their "DVR Theater". It can, however, be viewed on the Icelandic Ultra Blue website.


  • Dr. Torsten Samuelson - A Norwegian self-proclaimed "Doctor" who has spent "thirty-six years hanging out in the medical community". Best known as the founder and lead spokesmen for Icelandic Ultra Blue.[4]
  • O'Connel Mcmicmic (Justine D'Amour)[5] - A singer who worked with Wendy Clitlock to produce "Icelandic Eire Go Chalk", a musical entry for the "new Icelandic Ultra Blue jingle" contest.[4]
  • Wendy Clitlock - An award-winning record producer who serves as the spokesman for the "Icelandic Ultra Blue Air purity system".[4]
  • Mr. Kimmel (Ray Higgs)[5] and Mrs. Kimmel - The married owners of "Kimmels Nazi Gold Exchange". After Mrs. Kimmel suffered a splinter-related death, her body was preserved using "Icelandic Ultra Blue Emalm Balm".[4]
  • Danny Fatfuck - The plants-less owner of "Fattfuck Splinter-B-Gones".[4]
  • Lars (Christopher Cusumano)[5] - Dr. Samuelson's nephew who won the contest for the "new Icelandic Ultra Blue jingle".[4]

Pilot episode

# Title Original airdate
1 "Icelandic Ultra Blue" November 3, 2009 (2009-11-03)
Dr. Samuelson announces the "Icelandic Ultra Blue jingle" is being retired, and urges America to submit their own entries for a new jingle. Later, after showing several entries, Dr. Samuelson announces that his nephew, Lars won the contest, with seven votes. Later, Dr. Samuelson has returned to his lab were he tells the viewer that they will buy the product. Dr. Samuelson then says "stage one is complete" into his watch and looks up menacingly at the viewer, the screen then cuts to black and the words "To Be Continued..." appear.
Products/locations featured: "Icelandic Ultra Blue Health Emphasizer", "Icelandic Ultra Blue Air purity system", "Kimmels Nazi Gold Exchange", "Fattfuck Splinter-B-Gones", "Icelandic Ultra Blue Emalm Balm", "Temptations" - a Jersey Shore nightclub, and "Icelandic Ultra Stuff" - a cream used to cure shaving bumps. 


With a total of nineteen voters, Paid Programming received a 7.7 out of 10 at the Internet Movie Database.[6] As of 2011 Paid Programming still holds this score.

During November 2009, when the pilot was aired every morning, Adult Swim revived negative feedback from viewers upset that re-runs of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, were replaced with the pilot Paid Programming.[1] During November 2009, the Adult Swim Message boards were filled with posts from users, who were confused and unsure of what it was.[2] With out any credits, users on the Adult Swim Message Boards assumed it was a product of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, due to the comedy style.[7]

Cross showed the pilot episode to a group of about 600-700 people in London, during a monthly comedy event called "Popcorn Comedy night". To Cross's surprise, the majority of the audience laughed so hard they missed some jokes; stating "Quite often they didn’t even get the references, but they got the context, I guess".[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Heisler, Steve (4 February 2011). "Random Roles H. Jon Benjamin". The A.V. Club.,51327/. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Modell, Josh (1 October 2010). "Interview - David Cross". The AV Club.,45855/. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Crumpton, Craig (5 September 2009). "Toon Zone goes to Dragon*Con: Day One -- Adult Swim Panels". Toon Zone. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Icelandic Ultra Blue" (in English). Paid Programming. Adult Swim. November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Paid Programming cast listing at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Paid Programming: Icelandic Ultra Blue[dead link] at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  7. ^ Icelandic Ultra Blue - fan message posted on December 1, 2009 at Retrieved 27 August 2011.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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