Fox Reality Channel, in its initial foray into video-on-demand premieres, will make original series Househusbands of Hollywood available to digital customers 12 days before its bows on the linear service.
Beginning Aug. 3, some 30 million Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Dish, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse customers will gain access to the series, focusing on five couples in which the wife is the primary breadwinner, on the distributors' respective on-demand platforms, before premiering on the network on Aug. 15 at 9 p.m. The subsequent nine installments will be available on-demand a day after they bow on Saturdays on Fox Reality. The series will be available in both standard and high-definition VOD formats.
While other Fox Cable Networks-supported services like Speed Channel (one or two per quarter) and National Geographic Channel (a premiere per month) have regularly engaged in the practice, this marks the first time Fox Reality is using this gambit.
"We're looking to gain some early exposure for Househusbands of Hollywood," said vice president of advanced services Will Flannery. "We've seen some improvement with viewers with VOD premieres in some markets, compared with markets without them."
In exchange for the opening-window run, Fox Reality, said Flannery, has secured promotional support in the forms of cross-channel spots, menu and I-Guide placements, and mailers with one of the carriers.
For its part, Fox Reality is ramping up the marketing machine with print, cross-channel and radio promotion, with the latter featuring a retail overlay in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
On-air promotional support encompasses "Househusband Survival Tips," sponsored by WalMart. There will also be viral videos, and postings on Facebook and Twitter.
The show examines the lives of five couples in Hollywood, including former Los Angeles Dodger Billy Ashley and his celebrity makeup artist spouse Lisa Ashely; Darryl M. Bell (A Different World) and Tempestt Bledsoe (The CosbyShow); and former Marine Corps sniper Grant Reynolds, the husband of Jillian Reynolds (American Idol Extra and Fox NFL Sunday).
The famous faces aside, Flannery said the show touches home on some of today's harsh economic realities.
"This is an interesting role reversal; it's not a TV gimmick. said Flannery. " Men have lost four of five jobs lost in this horrific recession. This is trend occurring around the country."