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Hey, Rival Networks: A&E Won’t Be ‘Pawn’ In The Copycat Game

5/14/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

The season of grandiose
upfront presentations
continued last Wednesday
(May 9) as A&E Networks
trotted out its lineup of celebrities
and executives in
front of advertising executives
under an elaborate
tent at Lincoln Center in
New York.

A&E’s nearly two-hour
presentation featured all
the traditional upfront
trimmings.

• Tasty hors d’oeuvres.

• Celebrities: Jennifer
Love Hewitt of Lifetime’s
The Client List, the Duck Dynasty
family clan and Lindsay
Lohan, who had a photo
or two snapped with A&E
Networks CEO Abbe Raven.

• A-list music: Pop band Florence + the Machine performed,
shortly after a Late Show With David Letterman
taping.

The only thing missing from A&E’s upfront event was
an extensive slate of original programming from its network
stable, which includes A&E, Lifetime and History.
Executives spent most of the upfront talking about existing
hits and already announced projects, choosing to
hold off on announcing other projects in development
for fear rival networks
might steal their ideas.

Raven’s remarks to assembled
ad buyers and
other attendees blistered
its competitors for
copying such A&E-produced
hits as History’s
Pawn Stars and Storage
Wars
. She contrasted
that to A&E’s nearly
100% original lineup.

“We do not want the
25th generation of the
Pawn and Storage shows
like TLC, Tru or Discovery
… we want to stick to
what we do best — creating
the original,” she
said.

Hmm, looking to start
a Hatfield-McCoy style
feud? We’re ducking.

Boxers Fight,
Families Feud,
Nets Promote

Safe to say the biggest event on A&E Networks CEO
Abbe Raven’s plate Memorial Day weekend is History’s
Hatfields & McCoys. A couple of weeks after The Wire
correspondents and other media received a beat-up
looking felt hat, the oversized press kit came last week,
the DVD buried in a family Bible-style album, complete
with helpful family trees.

The miniseries even served as a promotional undercard
of sorts for the May 5 Floyd Mayweather-Miguel
Cotto
pay-per-view boxing match.

Famed boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer touted
History’s feud fest in the ring before his legendary
“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” cry, prior to the introduction
of the undefeated Mayweather and the world superwelterweight
champion Cotto.

Not long after the fighters entered the ring, Buffer
proclaimed that the event was sponsored by “History’s
epic new mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys, the chronicle
of one of the most infamous family rivalries in American
history. Don’t miss the premiere of Hatfields & McCoys
the feud begins Memorial Day only on History,” before he
launched into the traditional fighter introductions.

Buffer’s shout out to the Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton
three-nighter was preceded by a video teaser for
the show, part of an extensive promotional arrangement
between History and fight promoter Golden Boy Promotions
that paired History’s recounting of the bitter family
rivalry with Golden Boy’s mega PPV event, according to
network officials. The series also adorned each of the
fighter’s corners, with the Hatfield name plastered over
the blue corner poles and the McCoy brand in the red
corner.

The Wire hopes the series turns out to be as entertaining
as the Mayweather-Cotto fight.

In Demand Riding
On Howard Stern’s
‘Talent’ Bandwagon

Looking to capitalize on Howard Stern’s
judging turn on NBC’s America’s Got Talent,
In Demand is making a number of the
Sirius XM Radio shock jock’s interviews
from his subscription on-demand service
available as individual episodes.

Stern, if you hadn’t heard, is replacing
Piers Morgan on the AGT judging panel,
which also features Sharon Osbourne and
Howie Mandel. That gig got him booked on
talk shows all around the dial last week:
NBC’s Today, ABC’s Late Night With Jimmy
Fallon
and even The View (where Barbara
Walters
sat in his lap).

Usually, Stern is asking the questions,
not answering them. Howard Stern on Demand is making
available a la carte (99 cents to $1.99 each) interviews
he did with AGT co-stars Osbourne and Mandel,
as well as with Lady Gaga, Elle MacPherson, Jonah Hill,
Seth Rogen, Adam Levine, David Arquette and Courteney
Cox
and Bradley Cooper.

Each full-length, unedited interview runs approximately
45 minutes. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox
Communications, Bright House Networks and Cablevision
Systems
are participating in the promotion.

It will run for three months, starting on May 14, the
night America’s Got Talent, the top show in its timeslot
during its rookie run, returns.

To push the Stern interviews, In Demand will tap
an array of media, ranging from Google paid search
geo-targeted to the participating MSOs’ footprints and
Facebook ads to social media outreach and an e-mail
blast to more than
150,000 on a
Stern-viewer list.

In Demand also
is deploying banner
ads on its online
properties, and the
MSOs’ and Stern’s
sites. Free ondemand
and VOD
programs have also
been wrapped with
tune-in and up-sell
messaging. Barker
footage and crosschannel
spots have
been provided to
operators.

It’s a promotional
array the selfproclaimed
“King of
All Media” is sure to
admire.

September