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NBC, Sears Unveil Joint ‘Prommercials’

August 22, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC will be selling its new fall televison lineup with the help of the nation’s No. 1 retailer, Sears, Roebuck and Co., starting Labor Day weekend, the network said today.

The publicity program, ″America’s Brightest Stars: NBC, Sears and You,″ will attempt to attract viewers and advertisers to NBC’s five new television series through a combination of games, store displays, advertisements and direct mail.

The plan was first disclosed in May and detailed today. It begins Sept. 3 and will continue for the next four weeks, according to John Miller. senior vice president for NBC Entertainment.

CBS and K mart Corp. announced a similar arrangement last spring, although details have not been disclosed.

Experts say the network-retailer hookup is part of an effort to halt the erosion of network audiences to cable, independent TV outlets and video tapes.

The three major networks - NBC, CBS and ABC - claimed only 67 percent of the audience in prime time during the 1988-89 TV season, down from 70 percent in the 1987-88 season and 92 percent a decade ago.

In the past, the networks touted their new shows mainly by running promotional spots on their own network or placing ads in newspaper TV listings.

NBC says it will begin doing that Wednesday. But it says it is going a step further by running ″prommercials″ on closed-circuit sets at Sear’s 850 retail stores. Sears will also mail an eight-page brochure about NBC’s shows to 20 million customers with Sears charge cards and will take out newspaper supplemental ads.

Included in the promotion is a weekly sweepstake beginning Sept. 3 that offers winners, among other things, a small part on one of the new prime-time NBC series: ″Baywatch,″ ″Hardball,″ ″Mancuso FBI,″ ″Sister Kate,″ and ″Nutt House.″

″What we’re trying to do is make people aware of the new shows and interested in the new shows,″ said Miller.

Chicago-based Sears said it hopes to increase sales and store traffic, now at around 2.2 million people daily, as a result of the contest and NBC promotion.

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