Hollywood on the Line

Enjoying happy hour or exercising at the gym is no reason to miss celebrity news. For the latest on Hollywood heavyweights, grab your cellphone. Your T-Mobile
cellphone. Paramount's The Insider
favors the T-Mobile, repped in ads by Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Early on, Paramount decided to hook up The Insider
with an interactive component, much as Fox's American Idol
intimately connects with fans via phone-in and text-messaged voting. Entertainment Tonight
also delivers branded content to the entertainment-obsessed via push client Instant ET, as well as ET
Online on Yahoo!

After shopping the idea to several cellphone companies, Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski tapped T-Mobile: "They immediately got what we wanted to do."

Says Mike Belcher, T-Mobile director of sponsorships and promotions, "This property was enticing to us based on the success of ET. It goes 52 weeks a year, and it's rare to associate yourself with something that runs year-round."

The most important component of the deal is a daily T-Mobile–sponsored Instapoll. An entertainment-related question will be posed on The Insider: for example, "Who should win the Emmy for best female performer in a comedy?" Results will show up during the next day's show.

The poll does double duty: It makes Insider
viewers feel more tied in to the show, and it gives Paramount access to demographic information about who is watching. Viewers who text-message their poll responses will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win one of five trips to Hollywood to visit Paramount and a live taping on the Insider

Celebrity-news diehards can even subscribe to an add-on Insider
package for an extra $2.99 a month. Subscribers will get exclusive content and breaking news delivered to their wireless devices 24/7.

"This is a great selling tool for our retail sales force," Belcher says. "It demonstrates how you can get more from T-Mobile by staying connected to the show and getting the latest news in the entertainment world."

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.