Showtime is going postal, but in a good way: It's
linking up with the United States Postal Service to copromote an original primetime movie
about USPS inspectors in hot pursuit of a mail bomber.
Showtime's TheInspectors, starring
Louis Gossett Jr., is the first made-for-television movie about postal inspectors to get
the USPS' stamp of approval, which was given at the concept stage seven years ago,
according to Warren Weideman, one of the film's three executive producers (along with
Gossett and Dennis Considine).
The Inspectors will bow Sept. 20, with reruns due Sept.
23 and 28.
Weideman, who helped to coordinate the copromotion, said
he'd pitched the movie concept to various broadcast and cable networks before
Showtime picked it up two years ago.
The Internet cross-promotion phase began last week, when
the USPS' Web site featured a photo of the costars (Gossett and Jonathan Silverman)
and said, "Watch The Inspectors on Showtime ... part of a free Showtime
Various other marketing components from the network and the
USPS will break soon. These include on-air promos and radio spots by Showtime, and ads in
such magazines as Entertainment Weekly, People and TV Guide by both
Showtime is currently finalizing September affiliate
screenings involving MSOs such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Cable
Communications, said Mark Zakarin, the network's executive vice president of original
In addition, effective Aug. 31, the USPS will target up to
8 million consumers daily with posters in 38,000 post offices nationwide, standees in 260
of its largest sites and a movie trailer running on monitors at 2,500 offices where its
Postal Lobby Video Network is available, said inspector Dan Mihalko, the USPS'
spokesman on the project.
Moreover, Weideman has signed USPS customer Pitney Bowes
Inc. as a third marketing partner, said Carol Mechanic, senior vice president at Showtime.
Pitney Bowes will send out 1.5 million mail pieces touting the movie.
Since the film's plot is drawn from USPS case files,
there's a wealth of material for possible sequels, Zakarin said. In fact, another
script is already in development, he added.