CN8 Ads Plug New Fare

CN8, The Comcast Network, has launched the first phase of a multimedia campaign aimed at buttressing its brand image and tune-in, while also touting a new show that will anchor fresh fare on Friday nights.

The multipronged effort, which kicked off on the network’s cross-channel avails last week, centers on four CN8 on-air personalities going the extra mile to do whatever it takes to make the network’s viewers feel like they’re No. 1. The commercials conclude with the tag line “We’re Your Biggest Fan.”

Created by Philadelphia ad agency Red Tettemer, the campaign’s message is tied to a Comcast Corp. credo, according to Jon Gorchow, vice president and general manager of the network that reaches some 6.2 million cable homes on the East Coast, stretching from the Mid-Atlantic to New England.

“This campaign speaks to our corporate mission of 'Think Customer First.’ Our network is driven by the personalities and quality of on-air hosts,” he said.

Gorchow, who declined to comment on the campaign’s value, said the spots will air on CN8’s cross channel over the next four to six weeks. From there, the campaign could expand to radio and billboards, and potentially to spot TV.

In the promos, CN8’s talent plays the straight person to outrageous circumstances going on around them. For instance, in two of the spots that will play in the respective markets, sports anchors Lou Tilley (Lou Tilley’s Sports Connection) and Ed Berliner (Sports Pulse) greet freshly painted fans of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots at the bottom of their home staircases. Lynn Doyle (host of issue-oriented talk show It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle) plays a referee of sorts at a dinner time brawl as family members try to decide the professional future of a young man, who wants to become a dancer.

For the new entertainment show from Barry Nolan (whose resume includes stints at Extra! and Hard Copy, plus his current gig at CN8 Nitebeat, the original discussion show that focuses on New England current events), the host helps a fan get a better gaze at a starlet stepping onto the red carpet by serving as a human step stool.

The half-hour Backstage with Barry Nolan will bow at 8 p.m. on June 18 and take viewers on location to the Nantucket Film Festival. Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Nicole Kidman (Stepford Wives) will be on hand to promote the film festival and their new releases, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy notables Kyan Douglas and Thom Filicia will provide makeovers for some attendees.

Joining Nolan on the new series is Sara Edwards, who has more than 30 years experience reporting and covering celebrities behind the velvet rope at the Academy Awards, Emmys and Golden Globes. Her access to some of Hollywood’s biggest names should lift Backstage’s profile, according to Gorchow.

Nolan’s entertainment show is just part of the new lineup CN8 is trotting out on Friday nights.

The network has ordered the pilot and six installments of American Builder, which Gorchow describes as a “humorous look of what can go right and wrong” during home-improvement projects. Hosted by general contractor Brian Gurry, it will air at 7 p.m.

From 8:30-10 p.m., the network will present Hometown Champions, a look at local high school, collegiate and neighborhood athletic competitions from amateur boxing and rodeo, to bowling, skydiving and Frisbee throwing.

“One week we’ll be in Baltimore and then in Boston or New Jersey,” said Gorchow. “We’ll rotate throughout our viewing areas, but these are stories that should relate well to all sports fans.”

Gorchow said these programming additions are the first steps in revamping CN8’s weekend schedule. During the summer, the network plans to roll out music and comedy shows on Saturday evenings, while Sunday nights will be home to music and entertainment specials. Daytime weekend fare will emphasize sports.

“We want CN8 to be the first stop for viewers as their weekend begins on Friday nights, and then have them come back to us for more,” he said.

Gorchow added that the changes come at a time of strength for the service. Citing company policy, he declined to specify results, but noted the network is coming off its “best quarter in terms of ad sales and cash flow” and its top May sweeps period, relative to ratings.