Carey Proved a Hefty Draw

Showtime Event Television's Jan. 27 pay-per-view event featuring comedian Drew Carey didn't draw as many viewers as Super Bowl XXXV, but SET and operators were satisfied with the results.

Drew Carey's Improv All-Stars
-which ran live one day before CBS's New York Giants-Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl telecast-garnered around 40,000 buys, Showtime executive vice president of corporate strategy and communications Mark Greenberg said.

"We're really pleased with the numbers, given the fact that we were trying to break through new PPV territories," he said.

SET noted that half of the buys came from direct-broadcast satellite services DirecTV Inc. and Dish Network.

The show featured a live, 90-minute East Coast and West Coast feed in which Carey and several comedians improvised their way through several unedited comedic sketches. It was a rare comedy event for the PPV industry.

the star of two ABC comedy series- The Drew Carey Show
and Whose Line Is It Anyway?
-promoted the show during various national appearances. PepsiCo Inc.-owned snack food maker Frito-Lay's Doritos also served as the title sponsor, tagging its spots with promotions for the event.

"Drew did a great job in promoting this," Greenberg said. "He didn't miss an opportunity to talk about the show."

But there could have been more marketing on the local level, he added.

"We probably could have driven the event a lot more locally, especially since comedy had never been done in this category," Greenberg said.

Nevertheless, Greenberg commended the industry for offering and supporting the show. "The PPV industry was good about supporting it," he said. "It's not a top-10 event, but we believe that it was a good event."

Greenberg also said it's unclear whether SET will get an opportunity to offer another Carey PPV event.

Not only will the show receive several repeat exposures on PPV, the event will also be offered in hotel rooms. SET last week reached an agreement with LodgeNet Entertainment Corp. to distribute the event via PPV to the network's hotel affiliates.

"Drew Carey's Improv All-Stars

is the latest of many time-shifted television programs we will distribute through our interactive digital television technology," LodgeNet vice president of guest pay services Steven Truckenmiller said in a statement. "We look forward to broadening our palette of in-room offerings through relationships like this as we continue expanding the footprint of our digital delivery platform."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.