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NBCU Campaigns for 'Steve Harvey'

With promos, marketing and social media strategy, comedian hopes to fill best-friend talker role 7/09/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

If NBCUniversal's strategy works, its new daytime
talk show, Steve Harvey, will benefit big-time
from a well-planned summer of promotion.

The company already has started to market the show
on TV station affiliates across the country and online,
with a series of spots designed to reintroduce Harvey
to daytime audiences, who may know him as a comedian
but not as a host of a daytime talk show.

“We wanted people to know that he’s more than
funny, and we wanted to tell people that earlier in
the process,” says Donna Mills, senior vice president,
marketing, communications and af! liate relations for
NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution. “We
wanted to make sure that people knew he has all of
these other great qualities and that’s why he should be
in daytime.”

The spots are quick looks at Harvey, who’s been married,
divorced and married again; is the father of seven
children in a blended family; and has even risen from
homelessness and other difficult circumstances. Today,
he also hosts another syndicated TV show, Debmar-
Mercury’s Family Feud, as well as a nationally syndicated
radio show. Harvey also wrote a New York Times
best-selling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,
which was recently turned into a hit movie. Its production
company, Screen Gems, just forged the deal to
make a sequel. Plus, the sitcom The Steve Harvey Show
aired on The WB from 1996-2002.

All of that experience makes Harvey uniquely qualified to host a daytime talker: “That’s why I’m coming
to daytime,” Harvey tells viewers in the spots. “You
and I will get through this together.”

“He’s not scripted,” says Mills. “He’s an authentic human
being and a genuine guy with a heart who really
sees the good in people and can deliver tough news
in a funny way.”

When Steve Harvey, which will be produced by
Endemol USA, launches Sept. 4, the host will engage
with real people to talk about real issues—relationships,
marriage, divorce, child-raising and so forth.

“We’re trying to make a show that’s insightfully funny,”
says Alex Duda, who is executive producing the
show from NBC’s recently revamped studios at WMAQ
Chicago. “Steve is not an expert like Dr. Phil or Dr.
Drew or Dr. Oz. He’s an authority because he doles
out common-sense advice to real people. He can be
your dad, best friend, brother. He can wear a lot of
hats with the viewer.”

After a few weeks of getting the word out, NBCU’s
promotions team will dig a little deeper, with a series
of promos set to launch this week (July 9). One spot
spoofs a political campaign ad, with a tagline of “I am
Steve Harvey and I approved this message.”

The Olympics, which start on NBC on July 27,
also will provide a huge promotional opportunity for
NBCU and the team has designed spots to air during
the Games. The team also has designed spots just for
stations that will run both Steve Harvey and Family
, or both Steve Harvey and Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres,
which, like Steve Harvey, will air on the NBC
owned stations.

“Steve has been on Ellen’s show several times,” says
Mills. “They have a very natural chemistry that was
fun to watch.”

While all of this is going on, NBCU’s digital team
is working to get the word out on social media, especially
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Harvey already
is very prolific across social media platforms, with
1.5 million subscribers on Facebook and more than
700,000 followers on Twitter, making NBCU’s job that
much easier.

“With this show and especially this host, we want to
use social media even more than we have in the past,”
says David McMahon, vice president, digital strategy
for NBCU Domestic Television Distribution. “Previously,
we’ve held out on the social media to drive people
to the Website. With Steve, it just makes sense to give
people what they want wherever they are.”

Once the show is up and running, social media will
remain a big part of the program. “Facebook and Twitter
are going to be a huge piece of finding guests,”
McMahon adds. “We are already posting all the time,
looking for people to tell us their stories. People are
incredibly open and willing to share their stories, especially
in a community like the one Steve’s already built.
Steve’s team built all of his social media from scratch
and they really get it. We’ve never had this strong of
a digital component in place right from the start.”

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