By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/20/2004 8:00:00 PM
Paramount's new entertainment magazine, The Insider, kicks off promos in early June and will continue the fanfare until the Sept. 13 launch. Details on the show itself are vague, but the on-air talent is secured.
Last week, Access Hollywood announced that correspondent Billy Bush will get anchor Pat O'Brien's job. Paramount is in final negotiations with O'Brien to host The Insider; his contract with Access expires at the end of June. Good Morning America correspondent Lara Spencer will be Insider's New York correspondent.
The half-hour program will include three or four segments on stars from entertainment, politics, fashion, and sports. Steve Bass is designing the set. Insider parent Entertainment Tonight is getting a new look, which also debuts Sept. 13.
To sidestep the lack of names to tout in the initial campaign, the marketing department riffed on the "Kevin Bacon game," linking two stars by as few connections as possible. That delivers the message that, by watching The Insider, viewers connect to celebrity culture. David Bowie's "Fame" plays in the background. Shorter spots feature a quote and the star that said it.
The Insider campaign has three phases. Phase one has started, with Paramount and marketing firm Panopoly Pictures giving affiliates 30-, 20-, and 15-second spots.
Promos featuring the show's new talent will signal phase two and begin after July 4. Phase three, a specific ad campaign providing date and time information, starts in mid August.
"I've never gotten a launch campaign this early," says Dee Joyce, creative services director at Belo's WWL New Orleans, a powerhouse CBS affiliate.
The reason for the quick start: the Olympics. NBC will be carrying the Games Aug. 13-29. Says Mike Mischler, Paramount's executive vice president of marketing. "Media's going to get hard to get. So we need a lot of time, and we need it early."
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