Promax gives syndie series prelaunch boost

Jun 25, 2001  •  Post A Comment

As the countdown to the fall TV season continues to roll forward, many syndicators used last week’s Promax & BDA conference to finalize launch plans for their new shows.
Unlike last year when the Olympics pushed most debuts to October, only to have them suffer from the presidential-election controversies a month later, most syndicated series will hit the small screen this year the weeks of Sept. 10 and 17.
Among the strips, Sept. 10 will find a duel as the much hyped “The Ananda Lewis Show” from King World Productions and NBC Enterprises’ entry into the talk show arena, “The Other Half,” square off with their season debuts.
“Promax has allowed us to be strategic in speaking with stations this year,” said Delilah Loud, senior vice president of advertising and promotions at King World. “The lower attendance we’ve seen at the conference has helped us work on the bottom line with the stations, helping them become more creative in their promotions with less dollars.”
The week of Sept. 17, Pearson Television’s third game show in as many seasons will bow. This new version of “Card Sharks” returns to television the same week as Tribune Entertainment’s new talk show, “Talk or Walk.” Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution will offer two new strips that week as both “Elimidate” and off-network runs of “Mad TV” find their way to the airwaves.
“Promax is a great opportunity for us to plant the seeds of success for `Card Sharks’ by meeting directly with the promotions directors and their key staff members,” said Frank Piantini, vice president of creative services at Pearson.
The new version of the series will add new features to the classic game show. For instance, a “Video Dilemma” forces contestants to guess the outcome of a situation caught on tape, and winnings can go as high as $50,000.
Warner Bros. joined Pearson, Carsey-Werner-Mandabach and Buena Vista Television with suites at the Loews Hotel. At the facility, Warner Bros. announced plans to run spots for “Mad TV” that target audiences as if they had never seen the show before.
“We’re treating it like a new show,” said Yelena Garafalo, senior vice president of Warner Bros. corporate marketing and advertising services. “Meanwhile, we’re working on a number of cross-promotional plans with both the syndicated and prime-time versions of `Elimidate.’ That can give us a distinct advantage of using both platforms to drive viewers [from one daypart] to the other.”
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution will start off-network runs of two of its high-profile series, “Just Shoot Me” and “The Steve Harvey Show,” on Sept. 17.
Perhaps the most highly visible off-network sitcom to debut will be “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the first off-network series to come from King World, which snagged the rights with the acquisition of Eyemark.
Off-network runs of “Everybody Loves Raymond” will begin the week of Sept. 24, with heavy promotions up to the launch date featuring teasers highlighting the dysfunctional personality traits of the show’s characters.
Making early debuts this season will be Buena Vista’s talk show “Iyanla” and Columbia TriStar’s relationship strip “Shipmates.” “Iyanla” will hit the screens on Aug. 13, while “Shipmates” will bow on Aug. 27.
Traditional early player Twentieth Television debuted “Divorce Court” and “Power of Attorney” in August the past two years to successful results.
This year, however, the studio’s sole new first-run entry, “Texas Justice,” will remain a wildcard until its official national launch on Jan. 2. That’s because stations are being offered runs left over from their regional rollout of the series earlier this year for free and can add the shows to their programming mix as early as September.
On the off-network side, “King of the Hill” will premiere to stations the first week of October, while weekly airings of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Practice” will begin the weekend of Sept. 29.
Other weekly hours set to debut are Tribune’s “Mutant X” the week of Oct. 1, while Hearst-Argyle Television’s reality series “The Bravest” sees the light of day the weekend of Sept. 29.
Series that have yet to decide on debut dates include Universal Television’s “The Fifth Wheel” and Paramount Domestic Television’s two new series, “Rendez-View” and “Hot Ticket.”
However, Paramount’s attendance at the convention was highlighted by the launch of the syndicator’s studio-to-station Web site. The site will provide 24-hour access to promotional materials for every first-run syndicated show offered by the company as well as recent off-network series. Client stations will be able to download ads, artwork, radio spots, publicity materials, satellite feed alerts and other marketing tools.
Station attendance may have been down as Promax enters a new stage of evolution, but that didn’t keep creative players from making an impact.
“Everybody is seeing the value of strengthening their position in the marketplace,” said Anne White, head of business development at 3 Ring Circus and new chairwoman of the BDA. “So for us, we saw solid attendance as designers and creative houses showed their support for the organization.”
That support was evident during the keynote speeches featuring Lifetime Television CEO and President Carole Black, MTV International President Bill Roedy and BBDO Worldwide Chairman Allen Rosenshine, which drew standing-room-only audiences, as did a number of sessions featuring design technologies.
“People have been positively vibed,” said Promax and BDA President and CEO Glynn Brailsford. “We’ve been able to cover so much ground, and the quality and quantity of the work has been magnificent.”