‘Ambush’ Getting National Launch

Nov 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Following five months of regional tests, Twentieth Television is giving daytime syndicated makeover strip “Ambush Makeover” a national launch beginning September 2004.
The series, in which stylists from around the country give show participants guidance on their looks, premiered July 7, 2003 on the Fox owned-and-operated stations. The syndicator said the series has generated encouraging ratings among women 18 to 34 and women 18 to 49 compared with October 2002 time periods in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Mo., and Milwaukee.
“The business is becoming more and more a local business, and as a distributor you have to pay attention to what’s going on in local markets. You may find a combination that works in one market but doesn’t in another,” said Twentieth President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Cook. “How a show performs in those individual markets and whether it’s meeting its key demographics are equally important to us. `Ambush Makeover’ is one show that has done pretty darn well in some of those key demos.”
“Ambush Makeover” becomes the fourth series under Mr. Cook to go from a slow-rollout to a national launch. The previous three were “Texas Justice,” “Good Day Live” and “EX-treme Dating.”
Mr. Cook noted that any doubts about interest in the hybrid-style program have been laid to rest.
“When networks are losing younger audiences to cable, the question becomes how do you grab those audiences back?” he said. “For us it became a matter of not only thinking outside the box and exploring with different formats but putting our money where our mouth is. You see that in both `Ambush Makeover’ as well as `On-Air With Ryan Seacrest.”’
Mr. Seacrest’s series will debut in January.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cook noted that the company is continuing to fine-tune “Classmates,” which launched in test markets with “Ambush Makeover” in July.
“We want to make sure that the look and feel of a show is right before we take it national,” he said. “We want to incubate `Classmates’ a little longer.”