Lewinsky Ads Cut Close to the Bone

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Monica Lewinsky can no longer change history, but boy, can she move product! The advertisers who shelled out ABC's steep $800,000 tag on a half-minute commercial for Wednesday night's "20/20" were rewarded with the attention of a whopping 50 percent of the nation's working TV sets. "That's a Super Bowl-league audience," says TIME TV correspondent Richard Zoglin. "Hence the prices." But for anyone paying more attention to the ads than the interview, the array of products being touted read like a prankish deconstruction of Lewinsky's story: There were diet pills, low-fat cookies and Diet Dr. Pepper (advertised with a cheeky whiff of political scandal). Hair- and tooth-care products competed for attention with romantic movies and pizza, Internet services, painkillers and -- who would've guessed -- Victoria's Secret.