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AARP Explores TV Possibilities

Dec 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Former Petry Television programming executive Dick Kurlander is heading an effort by the AARP to launch television projects targeted at baby boomers.
Mr. Kurlander has been named head of program development for AARP, the Washington-based nonprofit organization that provides information and services for people age 50 and older. AARP is already in discussions with Discovery Health Network about the projects.
“Our goal is to develop programming that will reach the 76 million baby boomers,” he said, referring to people age 40 to 58. “I’ll be working with station groups, syndication and cable companies to identify opportunities.”
AARP wants to produce TV shows with partners or in joint ventures for the older portion of the baby boomer audience, which Mr. Kurlander said is underserved. Next month Mr. Kurlander will meet with a number of companies, including ad agencies, during the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Las Vegas.
“A lot of emphasis will be with syndicators,” he said, and added that an hour daily daytime show is on the group’s wish list. “Right now the goal over the next couple of months is to ask questions and meet with the appropriate companies.”
AARP is looking to create deals where its brand name would be associated with a television show.
“It’s a very respected brand name,” Mr. Kurlander said. “We have a wealth of information and [editorial] content and advertising content.”
For the past few years, AARP has been shedding its image as a group only for retired people. Years ago it dropped its reference as the “American Association of Retired People.” Two years ago it launched a younger-skewing magazine for baby boomers, My Generation, as a complement to its venerable Modern Maturity magazine. The group has 36 million members.
AARP’s only association with television in recent years has been to provide informational news programming inserts for local TV stations and other news shows.
Mr. Kurlander was with Petry for 15 years as VP and director of programming, and advised stations on program buying decisions. Before that he worked as a programming station executive in Boston, Detroit and other markets. For the past three years he has lived in Charlotte, N.C.