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Tucker Carlson Suits Up for ‘Situation’ Campaign

Jul 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

MSNBC has uncorked an eye-catching, lighthearted, what-the-hell promotional campaign for “The Situation With Tucker Carlson” that spoofs ’70s cop shows.

MSNBC’s spot for “Tucker Carlson,” which premiered June 13, “is a big swing for the fences. It’s different than anything we’ve done,” said Vince Manze, the president and creative director of The NBC Agency. “We certainly launched the show with straighter spots.”

During its first three weeks on MSNBC’s lineup, “Tucker Carlson” averaged 209,000 viewers, with a low of 148,000 viewers June 22, which puts it at the back of the pack in the 9 p.m. (ET) weeknight cable news race.

In the MSNBC spot, conceived by Mr. Manze’s creative staff, the bow-tied Mr. Carlson pitches his “Starsky & Hutch”-like concept of “The Situation” to network executives. He shows off his ’70s cop show action chops and at one point appears all tricked out in head-to-toe purple. The outlandish effect is pimpish or Huggy Bear-ish, depending on your frame of reference.

“You say tomayto, we say tomahto. For MSNBC, it’s a matter of ‘Why not?'” Mr. Manze said. “It is different, certainly different for MSNBC. This is purely breakout and just to get some attention. When you’re at MSNBC, you just want to get noticed.”

Mr. Carlson “had a great sense of humor about it,” said Mr. Manze, who is known for his jocularity. “He did his own stunts, except for the ones the actual stuntman did.”

The Carlson spot is also appearing during local breaks on other channels, including CNN-Mr. Carlson’s previous employer-and Fox News.