Wendy's, Cox to Support 'Adoption'


Hallmark Channel last week announced Wendy's as the presenting sponsor for its upcoming original series, Adoption.
And Cox Communications Inc.'s New Orleans system is the first local partner to sign on for an attendant outreach initiative, the network said at the National Show here.

Wendy's will serve as presenting sponsor for Adoption, the series from executive producer Robert Halmi Jr. of Hallmark Entertainment. It bows on June 1 with a 90-minute premiere, before settling into its regular time slot, Sundays at 8 p.m., on the next night.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption — established by the late Dave Thomas, founder of the hamburger chain — will produce a feature to educate viewers about current issues facing adoptive and foster families, to run during each Adoption

Hallmark will also produce adoption PSAs sponsored by Wendy's, which will run outside the series, said Crown Media U.S. president and CEO Lana Corbi.

The fast-food chain, which will be represented in Hallmark national print and radio campaigns touting the show, will also take commercials within Adoption
, as well as serve as sponsor for related online and local-market components. The series will also be featured on the restaurant's tray liners during National Adoption Month in November, according to Corbi.

Corbi said Hallmark approached Wendy's a few months back, shortly after it decided to go ahead with the series that will track the joys and disappointments involved with the adoption process. She said the work done by The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption made it a natural to help Hallmark get the word out about its outreach effort.

"The rate of kids going into foster homes is growing 20 times faster than the general kids population," said Corbi. "Studies show that as much as 50 percent of the people who wind up homeless or in prison come from foster care.

"We want to do our part and try to educate people and dispel myths about adoption and foster care," she said.

"If we can help one kid to a better life, our efforts will be worth it," she noted.

To that end, Cox in New Orleans will tie in locally to the outreach effort. The system will provide computers and high-speed Internet access to residents of Rain Tree House here, a foster home for girls aged 10 to 18, according to Cox New Orleans manager of education and community services Brad Grundmeyer, manager of education and community services for Cox New Orleans.

Grundmeyer said Cox's participation is an extension of longstanding educational and community programs in the New Orleans market. He said the MSO is contemplating running PSAs and developing local programming, perhaps featuring Rain Tree, as means to educating people in the area.

Corbi said the relationship with Cox New Orleans is the "first stop on a multi-city tour" that will soon reach Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Hallmark is reaching out to other MSOs to support its awareness program.