New York -- Ever since the days when the first baby boomers
were young, parents have been warning children about the hours wasted in front of the
Now, TV Land and its affiliates want to reward lucky TV
addicts for their wealth of television trivia with a chance to win the network's
second annual "TV Land Ultimate Fan Search" contest.
Starting March 18 in Greenville, S.C., television viewers
in 19 markets will be eligible to vie for the ranking of the most knowledgeable TV fan in
their local market, plus a chance to compete in the national contest to be held this
summer in Orlando, Fla.
"We worked on the idea that all of those years of
watching television are finally going to pay off," TV Land general manager Larry
Jones said last week.
Last year's winner -- Malcolm Bondon of Flint, Mich.
-- won the right to program his own TV Land block each week, selecting from shows not only
currently running on TV Land, but also from among the thousands of hours of old sitcoms
and dramas available in the network's libraries.
Bondon also won one year of free cable and a free TV
Guide subscription, as well as free televisions for each room in his house.
Jones said the contest has great appeal among cable
affiliates -- especially those new to TV Land -- because most of their constituents have
grown up watching the TV shows that run on the network.
The budget for the Ultimate Fan Search campaign runs in the
multimillion-dollar range, although Jones would not name a figure. He added that the
four-month campaign is the most aggressive one the network runs each year.
TV Land plans to expand the campaign this year to add five
more markets, and it will seek a national corporate sponsor, Jones said. "Someone
retro-contemporary, with classic properties, would be a good fit," he added.
Participating cable affiliates are asked to support the fan
search with cross-channel spots. "It works better if we do multiweek ads," Jones
said, "so we can tell viewers to clear their schedules and brush up on their
When Time Warner Cable of New York City participated in the
promotion last year, it started alerting its subscribers of the event two months in
advance through bill messages, vice president of marketing strategy Holly Winnick said.
"We promoted this as a TV-trivia quiz in our
bills," she said. Those who passed the quiz had a chance to attend the local
tournament, held last summer at the Museum of Television & Radio, as audience members
Winnick said that if she were to participate in the event
again, she would want to host it in a larger venue or spread it out over several days.
"We'd like to be able to have more of our customers participate," she
TV Land plans to devote more time this year to airing the
final rounds of the national contest with a weeklong tournament-of-champions round, rather
than the one-day event it ran last year.
TV Land has not yet announced a host for the tournament,
although Jones hinted that the network would love to enlist celebrity TV-trivia buff Rosie
O'Donnell -- who has worked for sister network Nickelodeon -- if her schedule would
In addition to Greenville, TV Land will visit Baton Rouge,
La.; Charleston, W.Va.; Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City; Seattle;
San Francisco; Los Angeles; Chicago and Rockford, Ill.; Baltimore; Atlanta; Monmouth
County, N.J.; Boston; Miami; Hartford, Conn.; and Tulsa, Okla.
TV Land will also give one online trivia winner a chance to
compete in the national contest.
The network is available in 46.7 million homes, and it
turns four years old in April.
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