The Earth moves in delicate patterns — predator and prey, winter and summer, televised sketch comedy and paid commercial advertising. Saturday Night Live threatens to disturb that equilibrium by cutting out two commercial breaks in its 42nd season, which comes out to a 30 percent reduction in the show's ad time. "This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live," Lorne Michaels said in a statement, whistling merrily as he dealt the hydra of capitalism a killing blow, unaware that it would soon hatch another head. According to the Los Angeles Times, NBC will compensate for the lost add time by incorporating more "branded content." "The show could use its writers and cast members to create sketches that are sponsored," the network said, drawing a distinction between product placement within the show (which won't happen), and branded material that isn't technically part of the show, but looks a whole lot like it — the MacGruber Pepsi commercials are a good example of this. These "native pods" will air six times a year. A chill wind blows. A flock of swallows wheels in the wind. Nature has reasserted her balance.
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