Fashionable ABC Family shorts are spot-on


Move over, Carrie Bradshaw: ABC Family has been pitching advertisers its own version of the fashionable female urbanite with a series of ad-friendly shorts dubbed "Nikki in the City."

The scripted 30-second shorts follow the life of a woman (Jaime Coates) and the products she uses, the places she shops and the trends she follows. The shorts will air during commercial breaks, with advertisers' products placed "seamlessly" in the story lines.

Viewers also will be directed to a Web site where they can view the shorts and read Nikki's profile and blog entries. The network doesn't have a traditional upfront presentation but instead has been pitching the concept to advertisers in more intimate meetings around the country and touting a recent study with Nielsen showing that ABC Family's ad recall is higher than its competitors that target a similar audience.

The "Nikki" initiative "is quality storytelling," ABC Family president Paul Lee said. "Viewers will really relate to the ads, and it's a fun tactic for advertisers."

Meanwhile, ABC Family has set premiere dates for new programs "The Middleman" (June 16); "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," formerly known as the untitled Brenda Hampton series (July 1); the six-hour "special event" "Samurai Girl" (Sept. 5-7); "Roommates," the network's first half-hour comedy (2009); and the Canadian series "Sophie" (2009). In addition, Steven Schirripa has signed on for a recurring role in "Teenager."

Lee also noted the success ABC Family is seeing with original movies and pointed to two coming up: the Michelle Trachtenberg starrer "The Circuit" (June 8) and the Ashley Tisdale film "Picture This" (July 13). (partialdiff)