To tease the March 30 premiere of its steamy series about the young King Henry VIII, the pay cabler sent out e-mails hyping a news story about a "Mystery Millionaire." Recipients who clicked on the attached link were led to a Web site for "WKTS-TV" with an array of news headlines.
If the Tudors banner ad wasn't a giveaway, the pop-up promo that appeared when you clicked the headlines made it clear that it was a fake news site.
Some of the headlines, however -- "Latest Violence Kills 12 in Baghdad" and "Vet Hospital Faulted in 23 Deaths" -- were perhaps a tad too realistic.
Showtime vice president of corporate relations Stuart Zakim explained that the network simply "wanted to make it look like an authentic news site for a TV station." But he conceded that using faux headlines about all-too-real casualties of war to promote a TV drama might be construed as insensitive. Others agreed.
Showtime has since replaced the headlines with more innocuous ones.