Promo Firepower for Rare December Launch

Nov 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

It is extremely rare for a network to start a new show between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is one reason ABC is putting an unusual amount of marketing firepower behind the Dec. 2 launch of “Line of Fire.” The crime drama, which centers on a local FBI office and an organized crime family, is executive produced by feature director Rod Lurie. The schedule was accelerated after “NYPD Blue” had to suspend some production due to back problems suffered by its star, Dennis Franz. Promo spots for “Line” have run on “Bachelor” and other ABC series, but the big final blast will be Dec. 1 on “Monday Night Football,” when all network promotion during the game will be geared to the next night’s premiere. There will be a flurry of 10-second, 20-second, 30-second and rare 60-second spots, said Mike Benson, executive VP of marketing for ABC Entertainment. Most will be “character sells” spots, in the style of the show, displaying video of the characters next to text describing who they are. For instance, Leslie Bibb’s character points to her as a rookie FBI agent, Paige Van Doren. David Paymer’s character is described as the Richmond mob boss, Jonah Malloy. “It becomes a unique device to understand who these characters are,” Mr. Benson said. “The show is a top priority. We are taking a different creative strategy with a different [media] weight strategy with the show.” “Line of Fire” will face such established competition as NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and CBS’s “Judging Amy,” but some of those will be in repeats. That is why some insiders said “Fire” has a fighting chance at drawing viewers to its flame.