Nissan Helps Drive Bravo's 'Actors Studio'

NBC Universal's Bravo network has inked a deal bringing a top-line sponsor to its veteran "Inside the Actors Studio" for the first time. Even as some auto marketers pull in the spending reins, Nissan's Infiniti has signed on with a multi-tiered attachment to the James Lipton-hosted show.

Bravo said the "presenting sponsorship" arrangement, launching early next month, will coincide with a new on-air feel for the series.

Infiniti, a luxury brand, will receive prominent mention at the top of the show. It will also have the brand linked with two segments within Lipton's interview of the week's guest. To be called the "Infiniti Film Vault," Lipton will cut to a clip featuring the star and then return to discuss it.

In addition, there will be an "Infiniti Fan Question," where Lipton asks the guest a question that is selected from entrants who visit the show's Web site. That site will include a blog from Lipton.

Infiniti agency OMD made the deal with Bravo, looking to reach an upscale audience.

The 14-year-old "Inside the Actors Studio" is a relic of Bravo's previous incarnation as a niche arts-oriented network that was owned by Cablevision prior to NBCU's acquisition. Since then, it has ramped up reality-competition series, such as "Project Runway" and "Top Chef."

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