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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Donny Deutsch

Aired May 12, 2003 - 19:27   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well there are billions of dollars at stake this week as the big TV broadcast networks preview their new series for Madison Avenue. Already advertisers are having a big impact on one genre, reality TV.
Now in essence, they're telling reality TV shows to cut down on, well, on the sleazy stuff. So what does Madison Avenue want from reality TV? Donny Deutsche ad agency includes clients such as Mitsubishi Motors and he joins us now. Thanks very much for being with us.

DONNY DEUTSCH, CEO, DEUTSCH, INC.: Pleasure to be here, Anderson.

COOPER: Why are advertisers backing away from some reality shows?

DEUTSCH: Well two reasons. Number one, a lot of them have been busts. I mean you've got the great ones. You know, "American Idol," you've got "The Bachelorette," you got "The Bachelor." But some of the other ones have done terrible as far as the ratings and the editorial content, as you said, is sleazy, cheesy. You know, advertisers are very concern where their ad run.

COOPER: All right, let's talk about first the ones not doing well and that advertisers are backing away from. You talk about "Are You Hot?"

DEUTSCH: You know that was a disaster. They were going to look for the hottest person in America. "Are You Hot?" "The Family." I mean a lot of these were just stupid premiseses. And really with all the hype about reality TV, the majority of them have actually not done well.

COOPER: But there are some shows like "Fear Factor" which a lot of people say it is frankly disgusting. They're eating horses' rectums...

DEUTSCH: That was a special night.

COOPER: A special episode.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: But, you know, the reality is... COOPER: But on that show the ratings are huge.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: ... even if the ratings, if you're selling in anyway a prestige product, do you want your ad following somebody eating testicles or beetles or whatever? I don't think so. It is not only the audience, it's the editorial content.

And I think "Fear Factor" is -- and a lot of these have really hit their zenith.

COOPER: We're seeing some "Fear Factor" right there. Sadly we're not seeing the horse's rectum part. But I guess this some other inedible object. God only knows what that is.

The ones that work, the ones that work and the one that advertisers were not pulling back from, sort of the high class ones, if you will.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: ... but there are some great celebratory shows. "American Idol," which isn't even a reality show. It's really the old Ted Mack variety show, you know, the old kind of like -- these are just positive, they're American, "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," people love them.

But I think even with those shows, we might have seen their high point in the sense of how many times can you kind of watch this mating game on TV? Advertisers were also drawn to these shows because they could do a lot of product placement. "American Idol," you see the Coke sitting in front of Paula Abdul, that's great stuff in the world of Tivo.

COOPER: Yes, I want to talk about that in a moment.

With "American Idol," with "Bachelor," it's not just that they're doing well in the ratings, it's also that whole family can watch them together. That's what's key for advertisers.

DEUTSCH: Yes, they're celebratory. They're kind of like the -- "American Idol"'s almost the American town meeting. Everybody tunes in, there's a live element to it. You know, so these things almost are event-type programming for the entire family. Fun, celebratory. Not only are they brining in audiences, you want to see a product involvement.

COOPER: Product placement, actually. We talked "American Idol," we're watching it right now. They're drinking glasses of Coke, they have those cheesy commercials you know where they're in a Ford car and all sorts of things. That's what advertisers want, right?

DEUTSCH: Well, basically what's happening, you know, supposedly is the death of 30-second TV commercials. Consumers get more control with their Tivos and what. Advertisers are very concerned. These shows are kind of a godsend for advertising in that your ads are within the content. You know, we're going to go back to the days of the Texaco Star Theater. And I think these Coke placements or these AT&T placements within these shows is kind of a first step there.

COOPER: All right, so that's the -- so reality TV is not going away, it's just going to change a little bit.

DEUTSCH: I think it's going to change but certainly has been good economics.

COOPER: Certainly has for now. All right, Donny Deutsch, thanks. It was fun.

DEUTSCH: Pleasure.

COOPER: Good to meet you.

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