- Alfred Hitchcock used to do this to the advertisers sponsoring his shows a lot. For instance, in one episode he came on before the film to give a brief lecture about how pagans used to try to tell the future by looking at the internal organs of various animals. Then, looking at a modern X-ray of an animal, he predicted that we viewers were in for a "very gloomy" next minute or so. Cue the commercial break...
- Mystery Science Theater 3000
Youth is better, in every situation! Youth is better, old is stupid!
- A throwaway joke in Santa Claus (1959) where, in response to kids writing letters to Santa, they quipped that writing to these Comedy Central contests was useless.
- Also in Godzilla vs. Megalon when the radar dish-like Maser cannons are being deployed: "Man, all this and they still can't get the Comedy Channel!"
- Mentos was famous for juvenile ads and running them multiple times on every CC show. After a parody that the crew of MST3K showed during one host segment (in the episode Teenage Crime Wave), the amount of Mentos ads during 'MST3K'' declined quickly.
- Married... with Children had an episode in which the cast assumed "Fox viewing positions," which involved grabbing onto the rabbit ears, standing on one foot, balancing pots on their heads, etc. For you youngsters who've always had cable, the Fox network originally used mostly UHF stationsnote , which were sometimes hard to tune in depending on weather, etc. This was just one of many, many pokes at Fox's programming reputation.
- Several episodes had a family member watching TV and hearing/listening to the promo for some utterly awful-sounding show, like "Psycho Dad" or "Psycho Mom." The promo would always conclude with the phrase, "On Fox!" to which the family member would reply, "Naturally."
- In another episode, a few characters visited the Fox studios, and an executive showed them a calendar of the new Fall line up they were excited about. Every timeslot either had a question mark or "crap," with the exception of The X-Files and The Simpsons.
- The show's production studio, Columbia Pictures, wasn't immune to this trope either. The season 7 episode "The Movie Show" ended with the Bundys watching an unnamed Columbia movie, and when their logo came up, the family booed it. (Naturally, in the original airing, this lead right into the Columbia Pictures Television Vanity Plate at the end of the show.)
- In the Season 8, episode 13 Christmas episode titled "The Worst Noel", Al, just before the commercial break, breaks the fourth wall, turns to the audience, and says "And I really hate this commercial!" The scene remains in the DVD releases.
- Roseanne Episode Springtime for David was a direct satire of the Disney Company but mainly the theme parks just when they bought out ABC in 1996, The episode came out directly after the two episodes that ironicly promoted the Disney theme parks "We're Going to Disney World" and "Disney World War II".
- Seinfeld did this trope as well, by having Jerry and George pitch a Show Within a Show to NBC. The pitch — a show about nothing — was the real life pitch for the real life Seinfeld. According to Larry David, the meeting really played a lot like the episode.
- True Blood does this with one of their sponsors: Nintendo. There have been at least two episodes where characters were shown playing the Nintendo Wii and having a good, wholesome time. Finally, near the very end of season two they have Hoyt's deranged stay-at-home mom flailing the Wii remote around as she killed in psychopathic glee...suddenly those previous scenes don't seem so wholesome. Then season three started: No Wii.
- On July 21, 1969, Johnny Carson announced that he was due for a raise because his contract with NBC said that he'd get a raise when men walked on the moon.
- This is one of David Letterman's favorite types of gag.
- Letterman used to poke fun at Westinghouse when it owned CBS, through on-stage use of its industrial products.
- Before CSI made a killing for CBS, Letterman's Top 10 lists made the occasional joke or two about how little watched CBS was at the time. An example: "CBS: More powerful than The Weather Channel."
- CBS' Late Show site actually archives every single CBS list, so you can check for yourself.
- Before he changed networks, Letterman did plenty of digs at NBC and their parent company, General Electric.
- The final segment of the last episode Letterman's ill-fated 1980 morning show was a Take That! to NBC and the game show that took over his timeslot.
- Jay Leno of The Tonight Show makes a lot of jokes at NBC's expense, too. He even makes jokes about how bad his jokes are.The NHL canceled their season. The ENTIRE season. CANCELED. Didn't know The NHL was on NBC. note
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: CBS cares.
- 30 Rock also can't seem to stop making fun of NBC and General Electric.
Jack: Oh I get it. The whole self-referential thing; Letterman hates the suits, Stern yells at his boss, Nixons "sock it to me" on Laugh In... Hippie humor.
- In the very first episode, they included a bit in which Jack Donaghy sings the over-the-top praises of the Trivection Oven; actual GE had to take commercial time during the episode to assure the viewing public that yes, the Trivection Oven was a real thing.
- 30 Rock once devoted its entire B Plot to mocking the real-life sale of NBC from GE to Philadelphia-based Comcast by switching it to Philadelphia-based Kabletown. With a K.
- The episode Khonani has Jack trying to deal with the scheduling conflict he caused between two janitors, Khonani and Lennon. He even attempted an innovative schedule in which the 2 would split the shift. In the end Lennon stayed on the shift.
- Jack himself is a walking example of it: 30 Rock's over the top parody of an NBC executive, and he explains the whole concept quite well in "Jack-Tor."
- A number of British Series knock their own channel.
- For example, Monty Python's Flying Circus constantly made fun of The BBC.
- The Goon Show made fun of the BBC too many times to count.
- As does Dead Ringers.
- Look Around You, anyone? Particularly the fake BBC promos in the second series.
- Top Gear, and all The BBC's Panel Games, frequently comment about the number of times they'll be repeated on Dave note in the near future. To their self-deprecating credit, or maybe just out of laziness, the directors at Dave leave all these cracks in (unless they're part of a section that's Cut For Time in its entirety) when repeating shows that contain them.
- In an example that crosses over with Literature, even some of the kids material gets in on the act, in ways typically engineered to go over children's heads and appeal more to their long suffering parents. In particular, although they were evidently banned from being critical on-air, the annuals and other books made to tie in with the various occupants note of The Broom Cupboard note really went to town with this trope, comedically painting the BBC and its buildings as little short of a fantastic gulag.
- Many comedy shows on The ABC (the Australian one) make fun of the network's usually low budget. The Chaser's War on Everything also mocked the ABC's left-wing stance, and after Maxine McKew, an ABC News reporter, began running as a candidate for the Labor party, it had one sketch where Australia's parliament gave out Labor seats to ABC personalities.
"Yes, videogames are going through a renaissance, and you should not miss out - like you are now, by choosing to watch TV instead, like some kind of medieval throwback farmhand fuck."
- Because it's his job to make fun of everything on television, Charlie Brooker makes fun of the Beeb on his BBC Four show just as much as anyone else. While he does make light jabs at BBC Four's pretentiousness with fake shows like Harpsichord Challenge and The History of Corners, and BBC Three's pandering to the base with Sick on a Widow, he also gives well deserved criticism at BBC recommendations relating to the Credits Pushback.
- At least one jab was aimed at the viewers, in a piece about computer games:
- Also, he often lays into Endemol produced shows such as Big Brother, while Brooker's production company is itself a subsidiary of Endemol. At one point this is lampshaded, by immediately following a particularly vitriolic attack on Endemol with the Zeppotron/Endemol Vanity Plate from the end of the show.
- Brooker's Dead Set, in which Big Brother contestants face a Zombie Apocalypse, was also made by Zeppotron and was broadcast on E4.
- Although not a comedy, The Bill had a moment where two character were checking a hotel's CCTV cameras during an undercover operation. They were making comments related to the order of channels on the TV set. BBC2 was gardening, ITV (the show's own channel, before it became ITV1) was adverts and the final conclusion to the joke was that Channel 4 (not named) was sex, as they discovered Dave and Polly kissing in a hotel room. Taking the joke further, Channel 5 equals porn (although, not as much... these days.)
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- In one skit, Colin Mochrie screamed at Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady: "You're not human! You're less than human! You're network executives!" However, after the game, Drew Carey went to great lengths to point out that Colin wasn't talking about ABC (the American one). Cue Colin doing a facepalm.
- In one episode, they attempt to do an improv of a theme song for a sitcom featuring Bill Cosby and Adolf Hitler, but the executives (mid-skit nonetheless) bring the hammer down and stop them from using Hitler in the skit. For the entire rest of the episode, almost every single bit of improv became a Take That! towards the executives, calling them prudes, taking every single opportunity to bring up the Führer, etc.
- There was one episode where Ryan had to play a weatherman who discovered the portal to hell was behind his green screen. He takes jabs at Friends and Michael Bolton, then looks at Drew. "This is how you got two shows!" Everyone (but especially Ryan) rags on Drew, either for his weight or his job as the show's desk monkey. They also do frequent riffs on Colin's baldness, but these tend to have a more affectionate nuance to them.
- In an episode of Millennium, a demon causes a member of an unspecified network's Broadcast Standards and Practices department to go crazy, culminating in a shooting rampage that results in the deaths of two actors dressed as aliens. The demon then remarks that, as a result of this one action, he damned millions of people, as not every network has such strict Broadcast Standards and Practices. Cut to grainy video of the shooting, now repackaged as the latest FOX network special: "When Humans Attack!"
- The X-Files had two jokes on their station: one in Season 3's episode "Nisei" regarding the infamous alien autopsy ("Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network."), and one in Season 9 where Fox is the only station interested in a not-Jackass stunt Gone Horribly Wrong.
- Saturday Night Live has had plenty of jokes/skits about NBC over the years. They went wild with them in Seasons 4 and 5 (covering 1978-1980) when super-executive Fred Silverman, who had worked ratings wonders for CBS and ABC, ran NBC into the ground over 1978-1981. Examples:
Hello, I'm the new Latina cast member. And I'll be playing Asian moderator Elaine Quijano. Because baby steps.
- The Kate Jackson episode has a running gag revealing that Silverman (played by John Belushi) was sent to NBC by Charlie to ruin the network.
- The 1979 Christmas show has a running gag of promos hyping Gary Coleman appearances on every other NBC show and special, since Diff'rent Strokes was one of the network's only hits at the time, along with SNL.
- The "Limo for the Lame-O" affair: Al Franken encouraged viewers to send letters to NBC asking that Franken get the use of a company limo — since Silverman had one despite all the flops he'd launched, and Franken was on a hit show. This did not go over well with Silverman, and it led to him nixing Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as executive producer of SNL.
- Then there was the "Conspiracy Theory Rock" short from the 1998 season, which is about major corporations like General Electric controlling the media. It also took a stab at the firing of Norm MacDonald. It was banned from re-airing, but would appear on a TV Funhouse "Best Of" DVD. Oddly enough, Word of God claimed it was pulled not because of this trope, but because the creators simply thought it wasn't funny and needed room for commercials in re-airings.
- In an installment of Weekend Update:Seth Meyers: You have TV in Hell?
The Devil: Well, just NBC.
- The Kerry Washington episode from 2013 began with a cold open making fun of the controversy surrounding SNL at the time for a lack of diversity in the cast, most notably not having a black woman. The sketch had Washington start off as Michelle Obama, but quickly have to run back and forth backstage as various black female celebrities came to visit the White House. The sketch also called out the abundance of white men on the show by having six Matthew McConaughey's come in at the end.
- Another jab at the show's lack of diversity showed up in a season 42 cold-open, courtesy of then-new cast member Melissa Villaseñor:
- A Weekend Update parodied the YouTube react channel TwinsthenewTrend by depicting them as clueless about pop culture. When asked about NBC, one of the twins responded, "What is that, an STD?"
- During an update bit on the Season 46 finale, Pete Davidson compared AIDS to SNL: "It's still around, but no one's really gotten excited about it since the 90s." Then it's subverted when he claims that Lorne Michaels wrote that joke.
- Around the mid-2010s, SNL began running sponsored sketches — sketches centered around real-life brands that paid the show to get their brand name out — to cut down on commercials. Not all these sketches make the sponsors look great, though. For example, one sketch touts real deals from Macy's clothing store, but depicts the children wearing the clothes as constantly itchy, whiny, and generally uncomfortable.
- Towards the end of his run on The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien got absolutely vicious with these.
"NBC is like a Goat that Eats Money and Shits Trouble."
- He mentioned that his ratings were up 50% (due to the controversy), and continued by that he was on the wrong network. He also introduced new one-shot characters for no reason other than to be really expensive, such as a mouse made out of a Bugatti Veyron, with the backing track of the original studio recording version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." As he pointed out, both the broadcast rights and the syndication rights to the song were "crazy expensive," bringing the price tag of the character, who appeared for all of two minutes, to 1.5 million dollars. "What're they gonna do, fire me?"
- And then, when word got out that the network was banning him from saying bad things about them, he got around it by singing insults.
- And then, when that didn't work, he said them in Spanish (complete with subtitles):
- Not only that, Conan would often bash NBC and promote other networks, simply while conversing with guests and not making a bit out of it. It's likely Conan was saying these things simply because he really felt that way (hosting the Tonight Show was a life-long dream of his) and mostly got laughs because they were very cathartic.
- Conan actually had done this back on Late Night as well, mainly poking fun at NBC's fourth place status.
- The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do this frequently.
- One toss between the two shows had a jealous Colbert mocking fellow Daily Show alumnus Ed Helms for not having a nightly show. When reminded that his own show was on Comedy Central, Colbert broke down sobbing: "I know! God, it's horrible! I wish I was on the Food Network!"
- An episode of The Daily Show once showed a clip of Barack Obama being asked if he had ever seen the Comedy Central show 'Lil' Bush, to which he replied "I heard of it, but I've never seen it." Cut to Stewart saying "Join the club."
- Stewart also had a little fun at the network's expense during his feud with Jim Cramer. Cramer made appearances on every NBC network/show he could (his home channel of CNBC, NBC's Today, MSNBC, etc). Stewart responded by going on a "Viacom tour." Cut to Jon appearing on ''Dora the Explorer'' (Nick Jr) and ''The Hills'' (MTV), unleashing the awesome power of his employer's multimedia empire.
- An example of another network getting its hand bit on The Daily Show: In 1997 Keith Olbermann, a SportsCenter anchor at the time, appeared as a guest on the The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn (himself a SportsCenter anchor before becoming host of The Daily Show) without permission from his bosses at ESPN, as required by that network's rules. During the interview Olbermann was asked (as part of the now-retired Five Questions segment) "What's the most god-forsaken place on the East Coast?" and answered "Bristol, Connecticut." Bristol happens to be the headquarters of ESPN. Keith got a two-week suspension, grief and editorials against him in the local paper, and the incident partially led to his departure from ESPN later that year.
- When The Colbert Report debuted it was followed by a short-lived talk show called Too Late With Adam Carolla. One night Stephen closed his show by saying, "Stay tuned for Adam Carolla. His guest tonight? Comedy."
- The July 16, 2012 episode of The Daily Show devoted the second segment to the ongoing brouhaha regarding the contract dispute between Viacom and DirecTV (the episode aired the night after DTV dropped all of Viacom's networks). Jon (with the assistance of John Oliver) proceeds to not only call out Viacom on its bullshit, but also ridicule the entire medium of television.Jon Stewart: You've got ads blaming each other for taking the shows away, telling people to "rise up and demand it" like it's some kinda basic-cable Arab Spring.
- Jon Stewart also tore a strip off Viacom when Viacom ordered YouTube to purge Daily Show clips.
- One of the commercial bumps during their Election 04 coverage was "And now a word from corporations who have a much bigger impact on this election's outcome than you."
- Advertisers beware: getting Stephen to personally advertise your product will make you ripe for mockery. Of particular note is the company who sent out its memo detailing exactly how its product was supposed to be portrayed... and Stephen read it on-air. Although not specifying clearly enough can sometimes be just as risky, as T-Mobile found out when Stephen recommended its phones be used as vibrating constipation pills.
- There's also the now infamous episode where Viacom prevented Daft Punk from appearing on the show. Stephen's response was GLORIOUS.
- A sneaky example: starting in early 2013 it became a Running Gag on The Daily Show to insult the fast-food restaurant Arby's at any opportunity. While Arby's sponsorship for The Daily Show doesn't go beyond random commercials that may happen to air between breaks, they are the official sponsor of The Colbert Report, even appearing on-screen right after the title card.
- When Koch Industries aired image ads on TDS shortly before the 2014 midterm election, Stewart dedicated a whole segment on the 10/29/14 show to making fun of them and their image-polishing ad (and also got off a snip at Arby's!)
- At one point, after a clip criticizing The Daily Show, Stewart cried something along the lines of, "Are you kidding me? We're on Comedy Central! We made Kröd Mandöon!"
- Colbert continued with this on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, promising in the first episode that "we will try to honor [Letterman's] achievement by doing the best show we can and occasionally making the network very mad at us."
- Strangers with Candy bit the hand hard in their final episode. Two property developers show up at Flatpoint High and repeatedly deny that they're tearing it down and building a strip mall, even as classrooms are demolished and food outlets built in their place. At the end of the episode, the teachers and students go on a rampage of destruction and burn down the school, with one teacher gloating "They'll never turn it into a strip mall now!" The Reality Subtext: the property developers were based on two Comedy Central network execs. Strangers with Candy was being cancelled, and replaced with a show called Strip Mall.
- During the 2006 Emmy Awards on NBC:
Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBCWith a capital "T" and that rhymes with "G" as in "Gee, we're screwed!"Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBCI hate to disrespect, but my lawyer checked and I can't be sued!
- Host Conan O'Brien, whose show is also on NBC, puts it delicately:
So NBC asked the host of Late Night to come to LA and host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?
- There was also a crack about how since the ceremony was on NBC, it would probably be cancelled halfway through.
- In early 2010, Conan was once again taking shots at NBC, although this is less "Biting the hand that feeds" and more "Mauling the arm that hit you."
- This all came full circle with Jimmy Fallon hosting the 2010 Emmys.
- Harry Hill's TV Burp makes fun of all channels about equally and does not spare its parent ITV. For example:
- X-Play would occasionally jab at G4 after its Network Decay, with specific references to being on the same channel as The Man Show.
- The series finale of Attack of the Show! ended with Leo and Patrick from The Screen Savers bashing G4 in so many ways that they still go to work at a tower bearing the Tech TV logo. A shame that the TechTV/G4 merger wasn't All Just a Dream that Leo had.
- Dirty Jobs:
- In one episode there was an incident in a salt mine where one of the camera men narrowly avoided getting hit on the head by a large rock. One of the mine workers joked that when someone is injured to 'go for the wallet first.' Cue Mike Rowe's reply "He's a camera man. For the Discovery Channel. There's nothing in his wallet."
- Also, this fun exchange:Dairy Farmer: Yeah, you just want to bend over right there.Mike: Just bend over and get ready for it?Dairy Famer: Yup. That's not a problem?Mike: Sir, I've been in television so long, I'm a pro at bending over and taking it.
- Something similar happened on Destination Truth. Josh Gates is browsing through a marketplace in Turkey and sees a beautiful rug. The shop owner tells him the price and Josh looks surprised. They then cut to him looking at much smaller rugs, roughly the size of a sheet of paper (the shop owner suggests using them under a telephone,) and Josh says "I work on cable, my friend, this is all I can afford." He never explicitly mentions Syfy, but the implication is there.
- While presenting the Best Animated Feature nominees at the 2009 Academy Awards, Jack Black explains to co-presenter Jennifer Aniston his secret to success when it comes to making money at voice acting: "Each year I do one DreamWorks project, then I take all the money to the Oscars and bet it on Pixar." The winner turned out to be WALLE, to which Black jumped and cheered. One of the people who laughed hardest when he made this joke was... Jeffrey Katzenberg.
- While we're on the topic of the Oscars, after the 2008 show played a montage of movies addressing the social issues of their time (in a very "look how awesome we are for doing this" tone):Jon Stewart: And none of those issues were ever a problem again.
- John Oliver's segment on the 78th academy awards where he says they managed to move past the dark clouds of failure from the previous year (the one Jon Stewart hosted). Amusingly, since Oliver would join The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent just a few months later, it also works as biting the hand of his soon-to-be boss.
- In the Spike Milligan series Q6 (1975), the first episode features several digs at the BBC's security guards, the "crummy wardrobe department" and the high prices in the canteen.
- The Goodies contains numerous swipes at the BBC:
- Most notably in the episodes "Alternative Roots" and "The End," during which a service announcement warns of "cutbacks of a hundred percent" - and the screen immediately goes black!
- And in the "Gender Education" episode they blew up the BBC Television centre! The rest of that one they spent taking the mickey out of Mary Whitehouse
- Every episode of This American Life (both on radio and TV) ends with Ira Glass attributing some quote from the show, taken out of context, to the general manager of WBEZ, the show's home radio station, when the show was launched.
- In his show No Reservations, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain frequently pokes fun at his producers and The Travel Network.
- The Soup takes sooooooooo many jabs at E! They even have a segment dedicated to mocking E! shows called "Let's take some E!"
- Also a staple of Chelsea Lately. Chelsea Handler frequently ridiculed the network president, even while she was dating him.
- In Talkin' 'bout Your Generation, host Shaun Micallef makes unkind remarks about the Ten network a few times; once, he lampshaded this by miming biting his hand afterwards.
- When he was a panelist on Match Game, Richard Dawson used to quip that his Family Feud was the most popular show in Guam.
- The game show Clash (Ha!/Comedy Central) had Billy Kimball addressing a discrepancy "because if we don't, we're going to get a letter from our viewer."
- A 1971 episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour featured an opera version of All in the Family with a completely different cast playing the Bunkers and Stivics, with the plotline having the CBS censor being invited for dinner. The CBS censor was played by Carroll O'Connor.
- Satirical BBC panel game Have I Got News for You does this a lot. One of the most notable occasions was in the late 1990s when the BBC director-general John Birt banned BBC programs from discussing rumours that politician Peter Mandelson (a close friend of Birt) was gay; this act by Birt was widely regarded as an abuse of Birt's position and clear bias towards a friend who was otherwise an obvious target for satirists. Viewers eagerly awaited the first show after this became public, to see if the show would break the BBC's rules. Early on, guest Jackie Mason made a reference about Mandelson, and soon everyone else was at it, so the entire show became an attack on Mandelson's hypocrisy and Birt's attempt to get the BBC to cover for his friend. (Special mention must go to Ian Hislops delivery of "Peter Mandelson is a ... friend of John Birt", which made it sound like an Unusual Euphemism.)
- Eric Idle's post-Monty Python sketch show Rutland Weekend Television was un-necessarily crippled by a miniscule budget granted by a parsimonious BBC. Idle, Innes, Woolf and Batley ended the first series on a bitter spoof song about the mean and miserly attitude of the BBC, where the male characters sat naked on a row of stools in a bare studio, with only minimal modesty-saving towels (Gwen Taylor was absent for this one).Hello, I bet you're wondering why we're here/Sitting on our bums, without a stitch of gear/For as it happens, the budget has expired/And everything's gone back to the place from whence it's hired...
- An episode of The Mighty Boosh (made by the BBC) has Howard watching a bland, seven-hour documentary about an obscure film director and his incomprehensible works... on BBC Four. They got to use the real BBC Four logo.
- Boy Meets World delivered a really big Take That! at ABC for moving the show's timeslot. It happens in the episode where Cory and Topanga are babysitting a kid and are discussing his bedtime:Kid: At least let me watch my favorite show. It's on right now!
Topanga: But it's 9:30, I know you don't stay up past nine.
Kid: It used to be on at 8:30 but this year they moved it to 9:30, those idiots.
Cory: Wait a minute they moved that show to 9:30, why?
Kid: No one knows!
Cory: Well was it doing badly at 8:30?
Cory: Well why didn't they leave it alone?
Kid: There're trying to kill it! There're trying to kill it!
Cory: Those are bad bad people.
- ABC took notice and changed the timeslot back not long after this.
- One of the reasons The Dana Carvey Show was cancelled was because Dana mocked his sponsors so much that they stopped backing his show.
- Psych, which airs on USA (an NBC affiliate) had this gem:Director of show in show: They better make great TV, okay? Because I sold this to NBC. NBC! They make classics like Friends and...uh...um...uh...
- The Made-for-TV Movie Special Bulletin, which aired on NBC, featured a terrorist remarking "NBC would kill its mother for this footage!"
- Babylon 5: At the start of season 2, Executive Meddling made the creators sex up Ivanova's appearance. She started wearing redder lipstick and had her hair loose instead of pulled back. When Garibaldi came out of his coma and returned to duty, he commented on her 'new look'. Ivanova snapped back "With everything that's been going on around here I'd think you'd have other things on your mind besides my look!" Take That, Executive Meddlers!
- An unusual case: ABC has been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1995, and in the Tom Bergeron era of America's Funniest Home Videos (which started at the Turn of the Millennium), the grand prizes each season are usually related to the Disney Theme Parks or the company's other vacation ventures. The show usually sends Bergeron to the venues in question to spend chunks of his host segments shilling them. Aside from those special episodes, however, Disney hasn't stopped the show from airing home videos that cast the parks in a less-than-ideal light (costumed characters falling off of parade floats or scaring toddlers, kids and adults being unpleasantly surprised by Epcot's famous "leapfrog fountains," etc.), and in one 2005 finale Bergeron joked that when his daughters are at Disney World, the three things they're most eager to see are "Mickey, Minnie, and Daddy's Wallet."
- Supernatural: "Hollywood Babylon" features a Meddling Executive who makes a lot of dumb suggestions and is killed horribly early in the episode. All of his ideas were based on real (though exaggerated) suggestions the crew had received for Supernatural, including making the show Lighter and Softer.
- The hosts and guests on Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld will occasionally take shots at the network or its personalities, though the latter are much more light-hearted.
- The second season of Heroes had a few digs at the thus far conspicuous Product Placement by Nissan: in one episode, Noah gives Claire a brand new Nissan Rogue for her birthday despite the fact that they're in hiding and Noah is working as a copy jockey, meaning this would raise a lot of eyebrows. Claire even refers to the car as "the Rogue" as opposed to "the car" The very next episode...the car is stolen. In a later episode, it's seen smuggling illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S.
- The iCarly episode "iGo Nuclear" was an episode-long jab and executives forcing Dan Schneider to make an environmentally-minded episode of the show. The plot is about Carly's efforts to go green bringing her and her friends nothing but trouble.
- After Community: This ending credits scene mocking NBC's penchant for shows with epunymous titles. This was the end of the fifth season finale, the last episode to air on NBC. Basically, it was a snarky way of implying "What mediocre crap are you going to replace us with?"
- Jono and Ben at Ten is a New Zealand comedy series broadcast on TV3. One of the presenters' favourite targets for their jokes is The Block NZ, a reality series also broadcast on TV3. The hosts also like to make jokes at the expense of other TV3 series such as 7 Days (a comedy news program that airs just before Jono and Ben), New Zealand's Got Talent, and even themselves.
- In an episode of Key & Peele, Jordan Peele tracks down his Disappeared Dad, who welcomes his son with open arms after learning that he has a TV show. When Peele casually mentions that the show is on Comedy Central, his dad does a complete 180 and angrily screams "Get the fuck out of my house!"
- After discovering they had been canceled right after finishing their two-hundredth episode, the writers of Stargate SG-1 devoted the large sections of the episode "Family Ties" to making fun of the network.Carter: The Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge.
Jacek: That's too bad because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network... of planets, I'd think that the decision makers would show it the respect it deserves.
- One conversation in My Name Is Earl, discussing network executives:Joy: Plus, they won't let anyone cuss on TV until a certain time at night. (checks her watch, waits a couple seconds) Douchebags.
- The BBC Christmas Special Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings is set in a BBC rehearsal space, as Victoria Wood tries to prepare her new show in the face of Executive Meddling. Much fun is made about BBC bosses as a mess of contradictory focus groups and "lateral promotions" which ensure no-one knows what's going on, and the then-new channels BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge (now BBC Three and BBC Four) are parodied as BBC Lowbrow and BBC Highbrow, with Victoria explaining how much better things were when everyone watched the same programmes in an egalitarian manner. It ends with Twinkle from Dinnerladies being put in charge of the entire BBC, and The Stinger has one of the execs (Hugh Laurie) explaining how excited he is about his new opportunity, which turns out to be in the cafeteria:Bob Monkhouse: Could I please have a cup of tea?
Exec: Do you have a BBC loyalty card?
Monkhouse: Does anyone?
- After the announcement of Star Trek: Discovery, The Big Bang Theory, which features numerous Trekkies among cast, crew, and viewership, used one of its Vanity Plates to show their opinion of CBS' decision to make Discovery exclusive to their streaming service CBS All Access:"RIP Network Television 1948-2015. CBS recently announced that it was bringing back the series Star Trek, but not for the CBS network, for a streaming video on demand system called CBS All Access. In lieu of flowers, CBS has requested that mourners send them six bucks a month."
- The Middle: In "The Wonderful World of Hecks", Brick doesn't want to go on "those 'ride' things" at Walt Disney World, as he believes the park is all about buying merchandise...this coming from a show on Disney-owned ABC.
- In "Hecks at a Movie", Brick complains about the ''Planet Nowhere'" movie being very different from the books to the point where he does not want Warner Bros. to release it at all, going as far to steal the standee to get back at them...this coming from a show produced by Warner Bros.
- On Match Game PM, Gene Rayburn would note that all players would receive a home version of Match Game. Richard Dawson would quip "The loser gets two of them!"
- A Bill Cullen episode of The Price Is Right had all contestants overbidding on an item, the result of which nobody would win it. Bill noted that a bonus was involved with a check for $1,000. To make it official, Bill tore the signature off the check, after which he'd snark "I've always wanted to tear up Goodson and Todman!"
- Dick & Dom in da Bungalow did this on their final episode. They launched into a huge song and dance number about how the show was "Good clean family fun from the BBC" (It was the most complained about kids show the BBC aired), how it had a constant weekly spot on Points of View, how members of the Houses of Parliament had complained about the show and how it was funded by your parents licence fee. Before having the largest slime-fest ever on the show. Then after the credits, the show was revealed to be dream by the then head of the BBC, before the two hosts woke up in his bed laughing manically. See it here
- Also, just after the Houses of Parliament incident, the BBC asked them to be "more educational". They responded the next week by adding a teacher in the background during the game segments, who wasn't mic'd up, only being able to here him through the hosts microphones, (such games included: Euugghhhh... Yum Yum in which mushy peas and custard were thrown at kids to catch and Make Dick Sick, in which the objective was to make the host throw up) and replace the cartoons Pinky and the Brain and Fairly OddParents with episodes of Arthur... which at the end of the show they destroyed the tape (which was a bad idea knowing that Arthur is a Sacred Cow to many Americans who grew up without cable).
- In one episode of Jane the Virgin, Rogelio pitches a Cultural Translation of his telenovela to the show's home network, The CW. None of the characters have ever heard of it.Rogelio: A superhero for every day of the week? You guys are programming masterminds!
- In the Black Mirror episode "USS Callister", Robert Daly takes a hit at Netflix and the show's move to the platform, by saying he has the VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray versions of his favourite TV show and snarks that it doesn't matter since "everything's on Netflix now". Although the effect of this trope is diminished since he's supposed to be a jerk.
- John Connor pirates cable TV for a neighbor in Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Sarah calls this risky. In a mix of this trope and Self-Deprecation...John: Nobody that pregnant should be forced to watch network television, it's bad for the baby.
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had a few digs on their network ("You think they're going to appear on a post-Game of Thrones HBO? They're Moms In Da Hood, they have better things to do!"), its parent company ("In fact, just so you know: HBO is a subsidiary of Time Warner, which means that this joke about being compromised is, in a sense, brought to you by FanDuel.") and once AT&T purchased Time Warner, John puts extra effort whenever he decides to target them:This is a real problem for consumers because we have to use our phone. We can't go back to the days when everyone would just shout their message into a jar and then mail that jar across the country. That was a terrible system, as it was only marginally more accurate than having AT&T now. Oh you like that Business Daddy? Johnny's acting up again, Johnny's acting up. I bet I'm going to get some spicy jars in the mail about that.
Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to everyone. Unlike, say, HBO Max. What the fuck is that by the way? Does anyone actually know? How do I get it? Im on it and I dont know. And why is it so purple? Its like Im watching television from inside of Grimaces ahole. And not in a good way.
- In his episode on voting by mail, John takes a shot at a then-new HBO streaming service:
John: "The stuff that dreams are made of" is a quote from The Maltese Falcon about how the thing that seemed like a priceless treasure was actually worthless garbage that brought chaos and despair to everyone around it. Anyway good luck with the merger, Im sure everythings gonna go great.
- Subverted in the "Election 2020" segment, where after a few Take Thats at Quibi, with the words "BAD IDEA" stamped across every suggestion the streaming service has, John starts to criticize HBO Max's high price, but the "BAD IDEA" stamp cuts him off before he finishes the joke.
- An unusual instance of this: Hotstar, the streaming service where the show airs in India, was sold to Disney, skipping an episode criticizing the country's prime minister and censoring take thats to Disney characters (including a picture of an anatomically-correct Donald Duck) so as to avoid an unintentional case of this trope. Oliver responded by mentioning his role as Zazu in The Lion King (2019).
- Following the announced merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc., the opening credits featured the AT&T logo exploding into fire with the text, "I Hope The New Different Rich Idiots Dont Fuck This Up" underneath. John later mocked the new "Warner Bros. Discovery" logo and its tagline, "The stuff that dreams are made of." He then gloats to his new "business daddy" that the logo "looks like the opening title of The Simpsons if the fonts were not found."
- Name-checked in the 1970 comedy special about the TV industry: Rowan and Martin Bite the Hand that Feed Them
- During Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue for the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony, they joked about the lack of diversity on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that conducts the Golden Globes. This included Fey remarking, "The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of about 90 international no-Black journalists," and a joke that the HFPA enjoyed Soul, a movie where a black man's soul ends up in a cat's body, because they have several cats on their team. The women also took a break from the jokes to speak more seriously about this issue.
- The Tru TV seasons of Billy on the Street include quite a few potshots at the network:
- Billy accuses a woman of having bad taste because her favorite show is Impractical Jokers, which shared a network with Billy on the Street at the time.
- In the episode with Aziz Ansari, Billy thanks Aziz for returning to non-streaming television and makes a crack at the show's host network: "Some call it Tru TV, I call it obsolete."
- When John Oliver guest stars, Billy remarks that he's probably the smartest person to ever be on TruTV, tied with the host of Lizard Lick Towing.
- W1A, The BBC's follow-up to the Olympics satire 2012, had Ian Fletcher appointed Head of Values at Broadcasting House, dealing with ridiculous reality show ideas, bizarre corporate-speak, and increasing criticism of the licence fee being spent on hiring people of questionable experience with titles like "Head of Values".
- Odd Squad: In the episode "Orchid's Almost Half-Hour Talent Show", Olympia suggests that Orchid make the duration of her talent show 30 minutes. Orchid tells her that no one likes shows that are longer than 20 minutes, which is not only a jab at the show having 22-minute episodes (in a 30-minute timeslot), but is also a jab at a large majority of PBS Kids shows that also have 22-minute episodes in 30-minute timeslots.
- Superstore: In the cold open for "Conspiracy," Cheyenne insults Mateo by saying he looks like someone put a Pixar character in the microwave. Mateo snaps back, "You'd be DreamWorks, bitch," prompting wide amusement from the other employees. DreamWorks is owned by Universal, which also produces NBC shows like Superstore and frequently uses the TV network for cross-promotion.
Biting The Hand Humor / Live-Action TV