The programming department at Viacom's forty-something-focused network, TV Land, is busy rolling out a summer schedule of feel-good series from creative powerhouses such as Mark Burnett and Embassy Row's Michael Davies. TV Land's sales department, meanwhile, has been busy negotiating a range of sponsorships to match.
Jeff Lucas, executive VP of sales at MTV Networks Entertainment Group, says the network has signed up a slew of sponsors including Verizon, Wal-Mart, Weight Watchers, Johnson & Johnson and Mars.
Once a landscape of classic reruns, TV Land is trying to build out its identity through new programming initiatives. Rather than identifying itself simply with boomers, the channel is honing in on the forty-something demographic and says the demo is a growing target for marketers of products ranging from insurance to movies. “The big myth is that when you're in your 40s, you are brand-loyal. You're buying for children and for parents,” says Lucas, who also heads sales for Viacom's Comedy Central and music channel CMT.
TV Land did not hold an official upfront event, but opted to make smaller presentations to agencies. While those have gone well, advertisers are pushing hard to have partners detail what ad spending will yield in terms of business results. “More than any upfront I've seen, every advertiser is looking at this from a value perspective. They're saying, 'I have to show the results and benefits to my boss. Every dollar has to be justified,'” Lucas adds.
First up this month, TV Land is serving up the second cycle of modeling competition She's Got the Look. The series features models between 35 and 72 years old. The winner will receive a modeling contract, a Self magazine cover spread and a cash prize. Johnson & Johnson is back again, promoting cosmetics brand RoC, while another sponsor, candy giant Mars, is new. Mars is using the series to market its fluffy chocolate bar, 3 Musketeers, and shot an ad with the models from the series bouncing on a trampoline. The series returns to air on June 11 at 9 p.m. EST and runs for nine weeks.
Other upcoming shows include Make My Day from Embassy Row's Davies, which features a prank involving everyday people being greeted by their celebrity heroes. The show debuts in mid-August with Verizon, Walmart and Weight Watchers already on board.
Fresh from her Celebrity Apprentice win, Joan Rivers moves over to TV Land to host How'd You Get So Rich? The series, which also counts Verizon as a sponsor, is as simple as the title sounds. Rivers, for instance, accosts people driving nice cars and poses the question of how the person came by their fortune.