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HBO Touts `Alzheimer's Project' As Must-See-TV/Web

5/09/2009 11:54 AM

Home Box Office is universally known for its award-wining original movies and documentaries, which for the most part are only seen on the pay-channel or through DVDs.

But the network is breaking ranks with its latest documentary project and is offering it on multiple distribution platforms for both HBO and non-HBO subscribers to experience. The network feels the information contained in its four-part The Alzheimer’s Project is too important to keep contained within HBO’s 30-million subscriber base.

“We do certain public service programs that are of value to those that are and are not HBO subscribers,” said HBO documentaries & family president Sheila Nevins. “It’s a corporate outreach effort dealing with subjects that we feel have been underserved by the media including cancer and addiction. We felt Alzheimer’s was perfect for a public service outreach campaign.”

In a rarity for a cable network, Nevins said the network isn’t judging the success of this series on overall HBO viewership numbers. In fact, HBO doesn’t care where or how consumers view the four-part series – whether it’s via You Tube, Facebook,  or iTunes, which all began airing one or more of the segments yesterday,  or on HBO  (where it’s airing over four nights beginning Sunday May 10) — as long as the information is available to the widest audience.  That especially includes those who have a loved one or know someone who is suffering from the unforgiving disease – and judging by the statistics, that’s a lot of us.

More than 54% of the U.S. population has been touched by someone who has Alzheimer’s, according to HBO.

And, as someone who is personally watching the effects of the disease take a slow toll on a family member, it is an excruciatingly frustrating and unfair process.

As Nevins states, the series isn’t just for those experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s directly or indirectly. But it could prove to be informative and even comforting to those who are – whether they’re watching it on their 60-inch HD set or their 15-inch computer screen.

September