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Reopening the Door to Product Placement

September 13, 2004 12:00 AM

For the first time, Sony Pictures Television is going to re-edit an existing series episode to add a product placement that will air only in syndication, not during the regular network run. The new scene for "The King of Queens," which enters its second year of syndication this week, will incorporate a plug for Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles. It is part of a sponsorship deal between SPT and Dr. Scholl's parent Schering-Plough that involves a sweepstakes offering as a prize: a behind-the-scenes tour of Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. Schering will back the promotion with "millions of dollars" in advertising, including television, radio and print. Of course, what made us Blink was the idea that any current or past series where the actors are still alive could in theory be re-edited to add other placements in the future. How about some new Jockey shorts for "Raymond" or a Trojan condom placement in "Will & Grace," or maybe they can go back and have Halliburton sell lunch to the patients as they come off the battlefield on "M*A*S*H."



-JON LAFAYETTE

Secret Celeb Sib

One of the new houseguests on "Starting Over," the syndie show from Bunim-Murray Productions and NBCU, which starts its second season Sept. 13, has a celebrity sibling. However, a spokesman for the show would not reveal to whom the guest is related, for what reason her sibling is famous or even which of the houseguests pictured here is the sister of a celeb. You'll have to watch to find out. We do know that during her stay at the Hollywood Hills, Calif., home, the sibling will work with the show's psychologist Dr. Stan Katz and life coaches Iyanla Vanzant and Rhonda Britten to decide whether and how to follow in her famous sibling's footsteps.



-MELISSA GREGO

Selling Soaps and Series

In a day-for-night promo twist, stars of ABC's prime-time fall lineup will appear on ABC daytime to plug their shows in 30-second spots. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban starts it off by touting the Sept. 13 debut of "The Benefactor." "His wife watches the ABC soaps, so he was very enthusiastic about the whole thing," said ABC Daytime President Brian Frons, who noted that when they tried this idea last May with Kelly Ripa hosting on the day of the season finale of her show "Hope & Faith," the sitcom outperformed its season average by some 26 percent. "Primetime Hosting Daytime" begins in earnest Monday, Sept. 20. Other stars participating include George Lopez and his "George Lopez" show co-star Constance Marie, newbies from the deliriously sudsy "Desperate Housewives" and Kelly Osbourne of "Life as We Know It. "It's not just another 30-second spot that looked like all the other 30-second spots that are on other people's lineups," Mr. Frons said. "This is a person doing a more intimate, personal pitch."



-MICHELE GREPPI