TV Land elects Clinton for upfront duties


NEW YORK -- TV Land will get a helping hand in its move toward becoming a baby boomer destination network from President Clinton.

Clinton will speak at the TV Land advertiser presentation the afternoon of Friday, March 23, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Midtown Manhattan. He'll be introduced by TV Land president Larry Jones.

TV Land, an MTV Networks-owned channel, is having its own big event in New York this year after several years of being part of MTV Networks' big bash. This year MTVN won't have its own lavish upfront.

But TV Land executives said that the March 23 presentation won't be a typical upfront-style affair, which usually is a mixture of the channel's stars and varying levels of selling to the audience of Madison Avenue, advertisers and the media.

TV Land executives declined to talk about what kind of payment Clinton will receive for the hourlong appearance. They also wanted to wait until the event to discuss what Clinton would talk about, though it's safe to assume it'll be much more about the power of baby boomers in American society than it will be about TV Land itself. TV Land has been gradually moving further away from the classic TV shows and more toward original programming aimed at the baby boom generation that is slipping further and further from the adults 18-49 demographic.

TV Land and other similar networks like Ion Media Network and Hallmark Channel argue that even though they're leaving the holy grail of Madison Avenue in droves by virtue of aging, baby boomers are still a viable and advertiser-friendly demographic.

"Who better to help us underscore that point than American's first baby-boomer president?" asked Rob Pellizzi, senior vp marketing at TV Land.

Clinton's appearance had been in the works for several months, and TV Land worked with the former president's schedule and their own needs coming in a few months ahead of the cable upfront season.

"We found a way to make it work for both parties," Pellizzi said.

TV Land will then take its show on the road to about 40 advertising agencies nationwide to talk up TV Land's brand and its power among baby boomers. It began its baby boomer-centric approach in 2005 and accelerated it from there.

It will be one of two media industry appearances that the former president will make in the spring. Clinton is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Promax/BDA's annual conference in June in New York.

Clinton's office couldn't be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.