Twentieth on the spot with ‘Nelson’ promotion

Jul 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Warning: Nine TVs were destroyed in the making of these promos.
Upcoming spots for Twentieth Television’s new series “The Rob Nelson Show,” more than anything had to be eye-catching, with heated competition expected from Dr. Phil and John Walsh this fall. Enter Beantown Productions to handle the shoots, and “catching” suddenly became the operative word.
“Our biggest challenge is for people to get to know Rob, to see Rob and identify his face with his name, since a lot of people don’t really know who he is yet,” said executive producer Linda Ellman. “We needed an ad that broke through the clutter yet provided a message. We wanted to send a message about the show that this was something different, this was a show that would reinvent daytime television.”
The group opted for a number of promo styles, each pressing the message that something was about to “save” television. But on the set of the “Falling” clip, no message came through clearer than a frustrated woman’s throwing her television set out a three-story-high window. The trick was to have Mr. Nelson walk under the falling television and save the woman’s set. Unfortunately for Mr. Nelson, the falling television was real.
“I’m just waiting for a miscue and suddenly there’s a television over my skull,” Mr. Nelson joked.
Director David Carr used a crane to drop the television into Mr. Nelson’s arms, noting that the set had been reduced to three pounds, although still full of glass, and only seven takes were needed to satisfactorily complete the “catching” shot.
“We figured that Rob was the guy who catches those viewers disenchanted with their TV programs,” said Mr. Carr, who has also shot promos for upcoming series “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Pyramid.” “Believe me, this wasn’t easy for him. Rob has to walk and say his lines, and then a TV drops into his arms. But he handled it like a pro.”
Overall, the company shot four promos for the talk show, including “Building a Better Host” in which a mannequin is assembled by the piecing together of parts of the perfect talk show host.
Mr. Nelson previously hosted “The Full Nelson” on the Fox News Channel and was the founder of Generation X advocacy group Lead or Leave.
“The idea behind this campaign is that this is a real guy talking about real stuff,” said Robb Dalton, Twentieth Television president of programming and production. “Rob Nelson may not have as high a profile as some of the upcoming hosts, but in many ways that’s a good thing, because people can tune in without expectations.