And the Hype Begins

Gearing up for two of this fall's biggest syndie launches, Warner Bros. Domestic Television has started shipping promos to stations for The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Sharon Osbourne Show.

The quirky and endearing promos for Ellen—which feature her on a moving scaffold at Home Depot or sitting and chatting with kids up to their necks in multicolored plastic balls at Ikea—were sent to stations over the Fourth of July weekend. Sharon's promos, showing people across the country shouting the rock 'n' roll matriarch's name in the manner of her husband, Ozzy, were set to begin airing over this past weekend.

Given the importance of both shows to Warner Bros.' success, the syndicator has spent millions of dollars on both on- and off-air marketing, says Jim Paratore, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and president of Telepictures Productions. "These two shows are unprecedented launches by our company."

Therefore, Warner Bros. commissioned a Nielsen study to determine which TV shows potential Ellen
and Sharon
viewers watch. The study found that, on the NBC owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, Ellen's primary launch group, Warner Bros.' Extra
is the most popular show among Ellen's key demographic, women 18-54. On Tribune, Sharon's primary launch group, Warner Bros.' Friends
is the favorite among Sharon's target audience, women 18-49.

Besides airing promos during popular access programs, Warner Bros. also is promoting both shows on their respective stations in the time periods when the shows actually are going to run. For Ellen, that's between 9 a.m. and noon in 80% of the country and in early fringe in 20% of the country. Sharon
will air between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The two shows will air back-to-back on the cable-delivered WB 100+, with Sharon
at 10 a.m. and Ellen
at 11 a.m. And Ellen
will be repurposed on cable channel Oxygen one week after it broadcasts in national syndication.

Although promos are starting up now, publicity for both shows will grow more intense as the shows get closer to launch, Paratore says. Promotions for both shows were created by Warner Bros.' in-house production, and Grey Advertising placed the off-air ads.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.