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ABC Uses Theme Park for Promo

For the second year in a row, ABC is promoting its fall season with a weekend theme-park event. Seventy of the network's prime time stars will be featured at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim during the weekend of Sept. 6-7.

"The nice thing about The Walt Disney Co. is that we have all of these different divisions to provide us synergy," says Mike Benson, senior vice president of marketing, advertising and promotion. "When you have an asset like the theme parks, you can use them in a way no other network can." (Likewise, CBS is promoting its new season by giving away DVDs at Blockbuster stores, also owned by Viacom.)

"It goes both ways," says Vice President of Corporate Synergy Chris Curtain. "From the theme-park perspective, you get a lot of attendance that you might not otherwise have."

Last year, ABC valued TV, radio and print publicity of the event at $8 million.

ABC won't be promoting just its prime time shows during the weekend. It's also featuring Buena Vista Television's syndicated Wayne Brady Show, which will be taping an episode with the cast of NYPD Blue. Selected fans of the latter show will be able to tape a scene with the NYPD Blue cast and take home the videotape.

Disney Channel's Raven of That's So Raven will deejay the day for Radio Disney, co-hosted by Martin Spanjers, who plays the youngest son on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. According to Jim's Jim Belushi and his band will play on Saturday and Sunday night, and such stars as Alias's Jennifer Garner and 8 Simple Rules' John Ritter will be available in the park to shake hands with fans and sign autographs. And the most recent Bachelor, Andrew Firestone, and his fiancée, Jen, will test fans to see whether they should appear on The Bachelor's next installment.