Padma Lakshmi by Chuck Hodes/Bravo Photo Padma Lakshmi by Chuck Hodes/Bravo Photo

So does the U.K.'s media minister, who has made the shocking announcement that he is banning all product placement on British TV shows, according to Variety.

Despite the practice having already been approved by the European Union, Andy Burnham, the secretary of state at the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, said that he won't allow it to "contaminate" the favorable international reputation of British programming. "There is a risk that, at the very moment when television needs to do all it can to show it can be trusted, that we elide the distinction between programs and adverts," he said.

I understand the chap's point; it's definitely a slippery slope. I am an avid TiVo user who is delirious with glee at the prospect of getting through an ep of Grey's Anatomy in 40-odd minutes. (Sidenote: Has anyone noticed there are "un-skippable" commercials now? Benjamin Moore Paints, I curse thee!) Plus, most product placement on TV is so obvious and bombastic, it takes me out of the moment of the programming. Like on Survivor when they award the contestants with Cheetos and Bud Light or whatever, just after they'd spent 12 hours standing on a block of wood or running half-naked down the beach toting pails of water over their shoulders. I mean, after 22 days on an all-rice diet, isn't that sponsored snacktime just going to make them puke... or worse?

That said, I don't think it's impossible to incorporate product placement in an acceptable manner. Bravo, for example, does it pretty well. Tim Gunn coos that it's time to head over to the Project Runway "L'Oreal hair and makeup room" without any hint of a scripted come-on. On Top Chef, host Padma Lakshmi frequently references "the Glad family of products" without making me want to run out and buy ForceFlex trash bags. I mean, unless Padma wants me to. Then I totally will. I mean, let's face it, I would sleep on a bed of nails for Padma.

What do you think? Has product placement gotten out of hand? Or are the networks actually getting better at incorporating their sponsorships organically? While you guys mull it over, I'm going to head out and get myself a delicious Subway Fresh Fit Sub."! - Mickey O'Connor