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Q&A: Are there FCC guidelines on amount of commercials?

Idris Elba plays a detective chief inspector in London in Luther, which was renewed last November for a third series of shows.
Published May 15, 2013

on commercials

Are there guidelines/limits for the amount of commercial time during TV shows? On Saturday, May 4, I was watching the movie The Expendables on Spike. From 9:01 to 10:02 PM there were 30 minutes of commercials and 31 minutes of movie. Fair or foul?

There are no rules regulating the amount of airtime a television station or network — cable or otherwise — devotes to commercials, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spokesperson.

The exception to that rule is in children's programing. According to a Q&A on the FCC website (

"Cable operators can transmit no more than 10.5 minutes of commercial matter per hour during children's programming on weekends, and no more than 12 minutes of commercial matter per hour on weekdays. These limits were imposed pursuant to the Children's Television Act of 1990, which restricted the amount of commercial matter that both television broadcasters and cable operators can air on programs originally produced and broadcast primarily for children 12 years old and younger."

'Luther' and 'Copper' will return

Are the BBC shows Luther and Copper coming back on?

Both are returning.

Copper was renewed last October for a second season. The first of 13 episodes is scheduled to air Sunday, June 23, on BBC America.

It stars Tom Weston-Jones as Irish immigrant police detective Kevin "Corky" Corcoran, who patrols the Five Points neighborhood of New York City during the Civil War.

Luther was renewed last November for a third series (season) of shows, though no specific release date has been set. But producers say it will be this year. The season will consist of four episodes.

Idris Elba stars as John Luther, an obsessive detective chief inspector in London. Elba won a Golden Globe in 2012 as best actor in a miniseries.

Get set for more 'Hell on Wheels'

What happened to the Western series Hell on Wheels?

Hell on Wheels returns on AMC for a 10-episode third season on Saturday, Aug. 3. Anson Mount stars as a former Confederate soldier tracking down the Union soldiers who murdered his wife and son.

'Sullivan & Son' starts in June

What has happened to Sullivan & Son?

It returns Thursday, June 13, on TBS. It stars Steve Byrne as a New York City lawyer who quits his job to take over his father's neighborhood bar in Pittsburgh. The second season will consist of 10 half-hour episodes.


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