Life Imitating Art, Imitating the Art of the Deal

When it comes to TV marketing, have no fear - executives know exactly what they are doing when it comes to the over-marketing of Donald Trump.

Take ABC's "Primetime Live," which is doing a special half-hour segment on Donald Trump. It is scheduled to air sometime between 10 and 11 p.m. Thursday, running smack into the middle of a special, 9:20 pm to 11 p.m., edition of Mr. Trump's reality business-themed show, "The Apprentice."

Genius? No, it's just a competent business move. ABC has been having a rough time of it the last several years, so you can't blame them for adopting an if-you-can't-beat-them-look-like-you're-joining-them way of thinking.

This week, ESPN has been running its "World Series of Poker" series in primetime. During the show, ESPN has been promoting one of its special sports-themed movies. That movie is none other than "Hustle," a film about Pete Rose, whose life will be forever linked with gambling.



For ESPN, it's a somewhat similar case. Why not wager some promotion-believing viewers who bet the house at Texas Hold 'Em, would also want to glee at one of the biggest sports names becoming one of sports' biggest losers?

The press shouldn't be too surprised by these programming and marketing moves. Nor the TV networks that promote films.

If Gwyneth Paltrow is a guest on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," we can be sure of seeing a commercial for her new movie "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" - immediately after her interview with Mr. Leno.

Viewers won't care and will see the movie, or will care and will still see the movie, or won't care and won't see the movie; modern TV marketing has something for everyone.

ABC's "Primetime Live" is a news magazine, and that is a different thing from an entertainment show - but not much. Modestly, Trump has said he doesn't doubt ABC's move because discussion about him always gets big ratings.

Trump also said he didn't want to do an on-camera ABC interview since it would hurt his own show on NBC. Trump has said: "Why would I appear if they're putting it on against 'The Apprentice'? Why would I do that?"

Because, Trump, in your case, there are no bad ratings or bad marketing. Smart viewers will know something is missing when they see you on ABC. Without those whiney MBA grads, without a lemonade stand, without goofy business decisions - hey, without "Joey" -- they'll change the channel.

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