As Starz prepares for Friday’s linear launch
of Boss, its original drama series starring Kelsey Grammer as a
fictional Chicago mayor with a dark secret, the premium programmer
has provided digital subscribers with a full-episode
sneak peek via affiliates’ on-demand platforms, as
well as other advanced media outlets.
Looking to create awareness amidst the myriad
content choices available to consumers — and ultimately
foster tune-in for the series — Starz has marshaled
more resources than ever to support Boss,
including making the pilot available to some 76 million
homes via on-demand platforms proffered by
cable, satellite and telco video providers, starting last
Thursday (Oct. 14). Boss makes its linear debut on the
premium network Oct. 21 at 10 p.m.
“We’ve been doing this for a while, since we premiered
Crash. This is our most significant effort to
date and we’re working with more of our affiliate
partners than ever to create this sampling opportunity,”
Nancy McGee, executive vice president of
marketing for Starz Entertainment, said. “Kelsey is
nothing short of magnifi cent, and so is the rest of the
cast. Boss is extremely well-written and we have high
expectations that it will have a broad appeal.”
To that end, Starz has already renewed Boss, produced by
Lionsgate Television for Starz Entertainment, for a second season,
before the eight-episode first campaign even starts.
Kelly Bumann, senior vice president of consumer marketing
for Starz, said conversations were initiated three months
ago with the various affiliates in order to get in the “promotional
Affiliate support for Boss’ break has manifested in the form
of cross-channel promos, print materials, barker-channel touts
and on-demand vehicles. Bumann said Boss screeners were
disseminated to distributors and were well-received, engendering
further enthusiasm and support for the project.
Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable,
Verizon Communications, Cox Communications, Charter
Communications, Mediacom Communications, Insight
Communications, Armstrong Cable, Midcontinent Communications,
Buckeye CableSystem, GCI, Blue Ridge Communications,
Massillon Cable TV and Antietam Cable Television
were to show the Boss premiere on their respective VOD platforms,
according to Starz.
Boss’s bow will also air at various times on Dish Network’s
101 Channel, while the episode will become available for sampling
on DirecTV’s Audience Network, following its Oct. 21
linear debut. AT&T U-verse’s Buzz channel will air an
extended clip from the pilot. Users on the go can also
view the first episode on Comcast’s Xfinity TV app for
the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
The premiere is also available free for sampling online
at www.starz.com/boss and on the show’s Facebook
page. For the first time, Dish — which has previously
incorporated Starz series promotional materials — has
embedded the programmer’s video player in its Facebook
page and will air the full Boss episode.
McGee said given the series’ storylines, which
touch on scandal, the programmer has established
scandalousdirt.com, a site that is looking
to elicit user responses around the fi ctitious, as
well as real-life political intrigue. “Boss is a political
drama, so we thought this was a good way to
The above efforts notwithstanding, Starz is also
supporting Boss with multimedia buys encompassing
cable avails, spot TV in top markets, online schedules
and print. Outdoor and radio will also figure into mix in
Chicago, with the latter linked to Grammer.
“Kelsey has such a recognizable voice,” said Bumann of
Grammer, whose character played a radio psychiatrist on
the long-running sitcom hit Frasier.