Monday, June 16, 2008

Developing Story - MSNBC Making Pitches To Become Eulogy Channel

Sources tell The Garlic that executives at NBC and MSNBC, buoyed by, surprisingly, extremely strong overnight ratings, have quickly put together a crack team of producers and advertising salespeople and are, quietly, pitching to Fortune 500 companies, as well as other large public and private institutions, the opportunity to have their leaders eulogized and remembered in the same manner that NBC/MSNBC has done for, the now departed, Tim Russert.

To drive the sense of urgency to the prospective purchasers of what NBC/MSNBC is calling "Eulogy Packages", the sales brochure is being sent with a complimentary Buffalo Bills cap, and miniature erasable white board.

As we continue to review the voluminous sales package provided by our source, NBC/MSNBC are offering a vast array of options, from special, highlighted news item mentions, to by-the-hour tributes, to multiple day, 24/7 broadcasting, complete with NBC/MSNBC, and CNBC on-air talent.

"This is extremely ambitious," offered Bruno Anthony, editor of "The Final Close-Up", an on-line newsletter that tracks the amount of time television news programs allot to the death of prominent persons. "This has never been done before ... Proactively selling airtime for this purpose ... For death ..."

"It's one thing if the deceased is already in the news, a promient politician, businessman, or, celebrity," continued Anthony. "But this can open up serious ethical and standards questions ... Like, if you don't pay, will NBC not report your death?"

Pricing is steep, ranging from high-five-and-six-figures, and significantly higher.

One package, the top, or Gold Plan, is the most expensive.

The Gold Plan is available only to those person who have been interviewed, on-air, by the late Tim Russert.

This is a multiple-day tribute package, with the Russert interview of the deceased customer being broadcast in prime time.

And to protect the exclusivity of this Gold Plan, NBC/MSNBC, as they continue, into the 4th day now, their "Remembering Tim Russert", will only broadcast B-Roll of Russert interviewing colleagues, or making appearances on the various NBC or MSNBC programs.

All NBC/MSNBC on-air talent under contract are available for these Eulogy Packages, with three - Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Andrea Mitchell - positioned at the higher pricing.

Additionally, throughout the sales package, upselling of combo-talent, having multiple NBC/MSNBC persons waxing on about the deceased, is encouraged.

Only two CNBC on-air talent - Erin Burnett and Margaret Brennan - are referenced as being available in these Eulogy Packages.

As to non-NBC/MSNBC on-air talent, the talking heads, those are priced ala carte, and subject to availability.

Of those mentioned in the sales package, included Mike Barnicle, Lawrence O'Donnell, Bob Shrum, Al Hunt, Hillary Rosen, Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, and a host of others, with the deceased having to provide scripts of what they want discussed, or how the pundits should describe the dead customer.

Former MSNBC on-air talent Rita Cosby is not offered in any of the Eulogy Packages, however, MSNBC will provide contact information for the deceased purchasing a plan to negotiate with Cosby directly.

Special Doc Blocks are also available, with pricing noted as TBD.

The NBC/MSNBC sales package also notes that all costs reflect in-studio work only.

The deceased purchasing any of the Eulogy Package plans will incur additional costs if they wish to have on-site events included, such as funerals, memorial services, hospital watches, and candlelight vigils.

Protesters can also be included for an additional fee.

One whimsical offering comes with the 'Today' Program.

As with most of the Eulogy Packages, for an additional fee, the deceased's burial location can be included as a stop, in the 'Today' program's feature, "Where In The World Is Matt Lauer", with the 'Today' program of that day being built around the deceased package purchaser.

Anthony sees this as a heavy push for NBC/MSNBC, with a "striking while the iron is hot" mentality.

"It could be big, they can see the dollar signs adding up," says Anthony.

"And, you're likely to see them continuing to roll out "Remembering Tim Russert" programming... That's their biggest sales tool ... This will go on for days ... Probably, weeks ... "

Bonus Remember Tim Russert Riffs

Barry Crimmins: Overkill

Dennis Perrin: No Moment Of Silence

We've Gone Well Past The 15-Minutes Thing ...

Little Russ Gone ...

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