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'Megan' Shaping Up

Principals in place; promotions kick off 6/09/2006 08:00:00 PM Eastern

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has made some key hires—and settled on a location—for its Megan Mullally Show, set to launch Sept. 18. Ken Fuchs is the director, and Jeff Hall is set designer. NBC U will produce the show from Tribune Broadcasting Studios in Hollywood.

Megan has also added three stations, the first batch of clearances since the NATPE conference in January: Fox affiliate KSTU Salt Lake City, NBC owned-and-operated WCMH Columbus, Ohio, and NBC affiliate WSTM Syracuse, N.Y. The show is now sold in more than 92% of the country, including all top 20 markets.

Fuchs brings a diverse directing background that ranges from the last nine seasons of ABC's The Bachelor reality series to Greg Kinnear's late-night NBC talk show to syndicated programs, Family Feud among them. He also directed the pilot for Megan.

“He has the unique talent of being able to direct primetime, reality, syndicated shows and talk shows, and he's so good in a live environment,” says Corin Nelson, executive producer for Megan. “That's important because of all the different things we want to do within the context of the show.”

Megan getting comfy

Hall has designed sets for Comedy Central's The Showbiz Show With David Spade and UPN/CW's America's Next Top Model and is a production designer for NBC summer reality series Treasure Hunters. “The set design needs to have functionality,” says Linda Finnell, NBC U Domestic Television Distribution senior VP of programming, noting that the show will include music, interviews and skits. “Most of all, it has to be a place where Megan feels comfortable.”

Mullally so far feels comfortable with the show's planning process. “She is so involved in everything,” Nelson says. “She's been involved in creative development, all the hires, even the color choices. Sometimes, we have to tell her to get some sleep.”

The hiring is more than 90% finished, Nelson adds, with the goal to be fully staffed by June 26. Her next task is finalizing a leader for the show's house band.

Show executives are also formulating plans to make Megan interactive via the Web and are talking to stations carrying the show about designing local tie-ins on their sites. Finnell expects to provide exclusive content on the show's Website, in line with NBC U's “TV360” push to have digital components for all of its shows.

It takes an iVillage

Finnell also expects a relationship with iVillage, the female-targeted Internet portal that NBC U acquired in March for $600 million.

“It was a big initiative for the company,” she says, “and, obviously, the [iVillage] audience is a good fit for our show.”

NBC U is ramping up Megan's promotional push, with Mullally freed up after ending her run as Karen Walker on NBC's Will & Grace. Next up is a trip to the Promax/BDA convention in New York next week.

NBC U is pushing promotion in three waves. The first was a set of promos that featured Mullally interacting with her Will & Grace character. A second batch shot last month focuses on Mullally apart from her Karen Walker persona, and a third set, due to roll out late in the summer, will focus on the actual show.

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