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MTV Seeks Family Advice On DJ AM's 'Gone Too Far'

9/19/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

MTV has yet to make the hard call on whether to air rehab reality series Gone Too Far after the death of its host, Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM.

The planned October launch of the series, which follows young adults as they struggle with substance abuse, was put in limbo after Goldstein, 36, was found dead in late August of a possible drug overdose, according to reports.

At a July 29 Television Critics Association tour presentation on the show, Goldstein spoke openly about attempting suicide years earlier because of his addiction, and called Gone Too Far “my platform to help people.”

Networks have handled deaths — under very different circumstances — on varied shows in different ways recently.

Discovery Channel in July opted to greenlight a second season of Original Productions-made Pitchmen after co-star Billy Mays, famed seller of such on-TV products as OxiClean, died at age 50.

Mays's son, Billy Mays III, will join the next show (no date yet), which is being described as partly a tribute to the late Mays.

Original Productions honcho Thom Beers, who's also joining the show cast, has said next season will feature co-star Anthony “Sully” Sullivan mentoring young pitchmen.

VH1, though, decided to cancel the series Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money 3 after Ryan Jenkins, days after being accused of killing his wife, Jasmine Fiore, committed suicide in a Canadian hotel on Aug. 23. Jenkins appeared in episodes of Megan and was to appear in Money, both from producer 51 Minds.

With Gone Too Far (from Ish Entertainment), a show intended to help addicts trying to fix their lives, Goldstein's sad end could work creatively within the context of the program, making the decision a difficult one.

MTV has sought guidance from Goldstein's loved ones, programming president Tony DiSanto told The Wire this week.

“Out of respect to DJ AM's family and his friends we're actually taking our lead from them,” said DiSanto, who appeared with Goldstein at the July TCA session.

“We're taking it one day at a time,” he added. “Nothing is locked or set in stone or planned yet. Hopefully we'll have something to discuss one way or the other shortly.

“It's such a sad situation with what happened and it's tough all around, so we want to take the lead from the family on this one,” said DiSanto.

Downscale Approach Suits Communacopia

Last week's version of the Goldman Sachs annual media and telecom investment conference called Communacopia was a bit different from past years, reflecting belt tightening on Wall Street.

The 18th version of Communacopia moved to Goldman's waterfront offices at 32 Old Slip, also known as One Financial Square, in lower Manhattan from past years at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown.

The venue was more than adequate — with presentations split between an auditorium and two breakout rooms — but relatively downscale. Gone were sometimes lavish lunch presentations; this year, attendees got a box lunch to take to the next session.

Goldman spokeswoman Gia Morón said Communacopia, and other Goldman conferences, moved to Old Slip for cost reasons. No specific attendance figures were available at press time, but it was likely down from past years, given cutbacks in corporate travel and conference spending across the board, she said.

Goldman rated the much-covered event a success, though, attracting top-level executives to present and satisfying attendees in terms of information and insight gleaned, she said.

The Wire noted that on the first day, Sept. 15, the crowd spilled into the hallways to hear News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Not Just a Video Cube, It's an HBO Experience

HBO last Thursday lit up a large, cube-shaped video installation outside One Restaurant in lower Manhattan. Each of the four screens showed a different angle of the same two-minute video, and you needed to watch all four to get the whole narrative. (Get it at HBOimagine.com.)

Network co-president Eric Kessler walked about, telling guests at the opening to “circulate, circulate” in order to get the full effect.

Then he guided The Wire to consumer marketing executive vice president Courtney Monroe, who explained: “The whole experience is designed to articulate the idea: It's more than you imagined, it's HBO.”

“In today's environment, in marketing, you have to communicate in a different way,” Kessler said. “You want to engage the audience.”

The Web site guides viewers to “unlock” the puzzles within the interconnected stories. For those who view all the content online, “we kind of feed you exactly what has happened,” Monroe said.

The BBDO-executed campaign — like HBO's “Voyeur” promotion in 2007 — doesn't highlight particular shows or anything that is on HBO.

“It hopefully embodies the spirit that is HBO,” Monroe said.

From New York, the cube travels to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where Comcast plays host as the local affiliate, she said.

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