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Step right up: Roadshows hawk new syndies

23 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Teddy Roosevelt did it. Harry S. Truman did it. Now Donny Osmond is doing it. The whistle-stop tour, that is. As the struggle to gain and hold viewers for new syndicated TV shows grows increasingly difficult, the industry is carving out new ways to bring fledgling strips into the public eye. In Osmond's case, he has been whistle-stopping malls nationwide to hype the game show Pyramid, which he hosts. Executive producer Stephen Brown says the grueling "city sweep," as Sony Pictures Television calls it, has been paying ratings dividends in a fractured daytime market. Sony is not the only syndicator reaching out to the public in different and unique ways this season, but Osmond's roadshow in support of Pyramid is one of the most visible. "This is going back to the old days of television; it's going back even further, really, because this is true whistle-stop promotion -- and the ratings from market to market indicate that it is working very well," says Brown, who is schlepping around the country with Osmond and a crew in tow. »

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