‘Moments’ searching for momentum

Oct 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

For a rookie show, facing a crop of famous faces ranging from Dr. Phil to John Walsh to Caroline Rhea to Wayne Brady can be a daunting task. But the people behind this year’s “Life Moments” say the challenge of building awareness on a brand-new broadcast format is invigorating, not intimidating.
Paramount executives said they were not surprised by the early Nielsen Media Research ratings for the show, which is modeled after cable formats. With no well-known face to market to audiences, executives are relying on word of mouth to build awareness.
“We’re beginning to hit our stride,” said Greg Meidel, president of programming at Paramount Domestic Television. “We’re encouraged by what we’re seeing. Do I want the ratings to be higher? Of course. But let’s face it, this show isn’t going to get the kind of notoriety that `Dr. Phil’ does. It’s not designed that way. However, the e-mail has been overwhelming, and if promoted properly the show could soon break through the clutter.”
“Life Moments” is a reality strip featuring three to four segments about memorable events in people’s lives, such as weddings and reunions, and is hosted by either former NBC “Later Today” host Asha Blake or a local personality of the station’s choosing. The series came out of the gate essentially tied with “Beyond With James Van Praagh” and “Rob Nelson” but has met with some signs of potential growth.
In New York, the series earned a 2.3/7 for the week of Oct. 14 to 18, providing the show’s highest delivery since debuting and up 35 percent in rating and 17 percent in share vs. its premiere. In Chicago the strip pulled a 1.4/7 to outdeliver its October 2001 time-period history.
“For the November book, we’re trying to work on the pacing of the series, such as being less voice-over-driven and more show-driven, but we aim to maintain the focus and integrity of the show at all costs,” said Kristin Peace, VP of development for Paramount Domestic Television. “As for the ratings, I hope for better, but I’m pleased with the growth we’ve seen, especially in the big markets.”
Producers Pietown Productions acknowledge the sluggish opening was expected, given the format, but said in the end the brand building has paid off for the company.
“It’s not easy to have to sell a new form of television in lieu of a host,” said Tara Sandler, executive producer of all Pietown programming and co-founder of the company. “But in the end there has never been anything like this in syndication before, and we all were aware that these things take time. If we keep doing what we’re doing, the word of mouth will come and eventually people will find us.”