LOS ANGELES - ABC has cultivated a marketing campaign for “Pushing Daisies” that could make producers of other new shows green with envy.
A hybrid drama-romantic comedy about a man who can reverse death, “Pushing Daisies” has been heaped with critical praise based on its beautifully executed pilot episode. ABC, sensing the potential for a hit that could bolster its schedule, is lavishing the series with promotion.
The push started early with summertime spots running in movie theaters.
Then came the public screenings, including one at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, at the increasingly influential Comic-Con pop culture convention in San Diego and one scheduled for the New York Television Festival on Saturday.
Thousands of daisies, with tags attached touting the show, are being handed out to the public in big cities. Some magazine readers will see glossy, eye-catching ads that reveal a pop-up paper daisy.
Then, of course, there’s the on-air radio and TV promotion as well as billboards.
The goal is to create early enthusiasts who will talk up the series before its Oct. 3 premiere, said Michael Benson, ABC’s executive vice president of marketing.
Bryan Fuller, creator and an executive producer of “Pushing Daisies,” is more than happy with ABC’s marketing plan. He’s reveling in it, deeming it “an honor” to be singled out among the network’s heavy load of eight new fall shows.
As a TV veteran with credits including the hit “Heroes” and acclaimed but quickly shelved “Wonderfalls,” he knows what it’s like to have or lack network support.
“‘Heroes’ got a great marketing push from NBC and that was a fantastic experience, to have people be aware of (it),” Fuller said. “With ‘Wonderfalls,’ friends said, ‘Hey, when is the show coming on?’ I said, ‘It was canceled a month ago.’ ”
It’s hard to express, he said, what it’s like “being the producer wondering why there’s not more money” to promote a show.
Some TV producers likely are thinking similar dark thoughts. With so many shows to promote, equal treatment is impossible, ABC’s Benson said. It’s up to Stephen McPherson, ABC’s entertainment president, to weigh what the network and its schedule needs and act accordingly.
“We pick and choose what we think has the greatest shot of being really accessible,” Benson said. “Hopefully, the audience will sample those and cross over and sample other shows we have.”
“Pushing Daisies,” which will air 8 p.m. Wednesdays, has a special burden because it anchors the night for two other newcomers. It needs enough heft to bring viewers in and then keep them around for “Private Practice” (the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff) and “Dirty Sexy Money.”
“What we’re really trying to do is create an overall feel of a show,” said Benson. “Viewers can make up their mind for themselves what they want the show to be.”
“Pushing Daisies” will premiere 8 p.m. Oct. 3 on ABC.