A&E Sets Major Push for Great Gatsby

NEW YORK -A&E Network plans its largest integrated marketing support to date for its raft of original 2001 programming, starting with
The Great Gatsby

An original primetime movie set in the Jazz age,

will bow Jan. 14. It stars Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel had been made into a theatrical in the 1970s by Paramount Pictures, which orchestrated several advertiser tie-ins. The earlier effort starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

In addition to Gatsby, the network's marketing efforts next year will back two new weekly series-
100 Centre Street

Nero Wolfe

-as well as eight original movies, A&E executives said. Film titles will include
Horatio Hornblower

The Magnificent Ambersons

Total marketing support will be "in the low seven figures," an A&E spokesman said.

The multifaceted marketing effort for

will include national and local sweepstakes promotions, as well as tie-ins with high schools, colleges and libraries, said A&E senior vice president of marketing Mike Mohammed.

US Airways and Waterford Crystal will be national sponsors of a

sweepstakes. There also will be affiliate promotions that involve 150 systems reaching 10 million subscribers, as well as sweepstakes customized for such MSOs as AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp.

Affiliates also will co-host Roaring '20s "Gatsby Gala" screenings throughout the U.S.

In addition, US Airways will promote

through an in-flight featurette,
The Making of the Great Gatsby
, projected to reach about 1 million passengers during the holiday season. And Clairol Inc.'s Hydrience hair color and Pathmark Stores Inc. will join forces on a

-themed retailer promotion linked to the movie.

The telefilm is an A&E/Granada Entertainment USA co-production.

A&E will also target the education community through an acting contest staged at 23,000 high schools and colleges.

Displays will be placed in 12,000 libraries nationwide.

Promotional materials for the "Great American Student Screen Test" call attention to the prizes. Schools can win $1,000 and students the chance to travel to the set of a future A&E production-as well as a role as an extra.

"Virtually no media platform" has been left out of the

push, according to Mohammed, who said the network will employ on-air promos, radio and broadcast-TV spots and print advertising.

A&E's Web site (
) will also get in on the effort with "Dress Daisy," an interactive game inspired by one of
's main characters.

Last week, at the Western Show, A&E Television Networks launched an affiliates-only Web site (
) that offers information on programming, marketing, local ad-sales and promotional opportunities for A&E, History Channel, Biography Channel and History Channel International.