“McDonalds did not pay, and did not have approval” on The Crazy Ones pilot episode, exec producer Jason Winer told TV critics today at TCA. In the first episode of the new CBS comedy from David E. Kelly and Winer, a Chicago ad agency head and his daughter, played by Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, try to get Kelly Clarkson to sing the old McDonalds jingle in an effort to hang on to that important client. Using a real brand is exciting…making up the names of products would not seem so real” Winer explained.  “So far no money has changed hands”.

“If you look under your chairs there’s a Happy Meal there right now,” Williams jumped in.

It’s the Practically Perfect TV series – each episode about making an ad campaign for a different product. A few hours earlier, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said some episodes would focus on fake products; he too said no money came in from McDonalds on the first episode. According to an insider, the show will get no money for real products woven into the first season, though there is hope of monetizing it going forward from there, in much the same way AMC’s Mad Men monetizes those verisimilitudinous touches for which TV critics show it mad love. The Crazy Ones is about making fun of the process — not the product. During the show’s Q&A session, Kelley said the show is based on the Chicago agency headed by John Montgomery, who sits with the writers about three days a week, and regales them with stories from his career: focus groups that felt it was inappropriate for the Keebler elves to still be living in trees (they should have their own condos by now) — he’s got a million of ’em.