Trio is thinking outside the box in its push to draw viewers to television series that never made it to the small screen.
To call attention to at least nine broadcast-network pilots that weren't quite ready for primetime, Trio today (Aug. 11) kicks off a significant, multifaceted push backing "Brilliant But Cancelled," a primetime strip that bows Monday Sept. 1.
In addition to the batch of busted pilots, various series with short major broadcast-network life spans will also be on display during the strip, to air weeknights at 8 p.m.
Conventional and unconventional marketing components will back the programming strand, said Trio vice president of marketing Jason Klarman. He declined to pin a dollar value on the overall effort.
An image of a hangman's noose dangling in front of a TV set will be the unifying visual image deployed across the various media. Copy beneath will read, "Brilliant But Cancelled. Weeknights at 8 p.m. Starts Sept. 1. Trio …"
The offbeat elements, breaking Aug. 28, include a "TiVo Showcase," in which a four-minute video clip will be made available exclusively to 1.5 million TiVo Inc. subscribers.
Trio will also join forces with TiVo for on-air and online promotions, perhaps in September, according to Klarman.
Elsewhere, the network plans to distribute 2,000 DVDs of Trio's Sept. 1 documentary, Brilliant But Cancelled: Pilot Season, to Hampton Jitney passengers traveling to and from the popular Long Island, N.Y., resort area from Aug. 28 through Sept. 2. It will also leave DVDs in mock film cans on seats in 10 New York City buses per day during that same Labor Day weekend holiday period.
In a more traditional vein, Trio will boost the "Brilliant But Cancelled" strip with its first paid TV ad buy. Spots will air on TV Land and Nick at Nite, along with cross-channel spots on Universal Television siblings USA Network and Sci Fi Channel and their Web sites.
Print ads will appear in The New York Times, the New York Post
and Time Out New York. Out-of-home media in New York City will include a Times Square billboard, 400 signs on city buses, 80 bus-stop-shelter posters, 400 subway posters and 124 phone kiosks.
Klarman said that video segments from "Brilliant But Cancelled" will be streamed on Trio's Web site, where other related content is being developed as well.
To set the stage for the pilot week, Trio on Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. will air the hour-long Brilliant, But Cancelled: Pilot Season. Busted pilots due that week include: Beat Cops
(2002); Dear Diary
(1996, with Bebe Neuwirth); Rewrite for Murder
(1991, with George Clooney); and Savage
(1973, directed by Steven Spielberg).
Four of the choices were inspired by popular films —L.A. Confidential (starring Kiefer Sutherland from 2000), due Sept. 1; Fargo (with Edie Falco from 1997), Sept. 2; Diner
(based on the 1982 film) and Black Bart
(starring Lou Gossett Jr. and spawned by Mel Brooks'Blazing Saddles). The latter two will air back-to-back on Sept. 5.