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July 13, 2006 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Help me get someone else on a TV talk show.

Let's say that there is a tiny family company that makes a fabulous product that makes a huge positive difference in childhood development and communication. A group of rabid fansdevotees, including yours truly, are producing a short DVD that puts all this into the best, emotionally manipulating light.

The question is, how to best get this in the hands of the people who matter in a way that is most favorable to swaying the decision in favor of bringing them on board. For the sake of argument, let's say that name of this show is Chicago based and something like Soapra Plinthfrey. (and if you're wondering why I'm not using the real name, I want to keep this a little stealthy. I would really like to see this product get all the success that it deserves and am not above intentional manipulation of an inherently manipulative medium to see it happen and would therefore like any discussions in that realm to remain under cover).
posted by plinth to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't help you get on tv, but I'm interested in the product. Email's in profile if there's some reason you don't want to post about it here.
posted by dobbs at 8:02 AM on July 13, 2006

Call the booking agent for the show.

Better: call a journalist. Get some buzz going--they'll be beating down your door to get your friends on a show.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:25 AM on July 13, 2006

Assuming there's precedent, that Soapra Plinthfrey has done similar shows in the past featuring small companies*, why not contact those who have been featured and ask how they got themselves on the show?

* I don't watch Ms. Plinthfrey, but I thought talk shows were mostly limited to screaming girlfriends and cheating husbands. Is it realistic to expect that she'll give your friends a Ron Popeil infomercial?
posted by cribcage at 8:49 AM on July 13, 2006

The Oprah show mines e-mails and letters from viewers for show ideas.

You might want to start smaller though. I'd be suprised if the tv stations in the top 25 or 50 US media markets didn't have their own local talk shows.
posted by Good Brain at 9:38 AM on July 13, 2006

I think one mistake businesses tend to make PR-wise is that it's "Opra- or bust". Have you thought about getting press in trade journals? Magazines? Newspapers? Blogs? There's nothing wrong with shooting for the stars but you certainly will need a bit of momentum beforehand. I work in PR, and a problem we face with our clients is that they completely underestimate small media sources. It's very frustrating to have a CEO who rides us if we get any hits with fewer viewers than the Today Show. My colleagues and I joke that it's the equivalent of only dating supermodels with great personalities; if you set an impossibly high standard you're going to miss out on many other excellent opportunities.

Back to your question: how would Opra- know that your product is successful? Take your word for it? I'm sure you have the best of intentions but your DVD seems very astroturf-y and if I were a booking agent I would want press, not a DVD that may or may not have been produced by the manufacturers. Opra- has an incredible reputation and she's got going to take a chance on something so unknown (I know it might seem like she does but I assure you that's not the case). Not only will you need press but you'll need to have a boatload of success stories, parents willing to make media appearances with their children, some authors of child psychology books who endorse your program, and some child development specialists (or whoever would be the most appropriate). And even with all that, does Opra- seem like the right place for you? I watch the show quite infrequently, however I'm not entirely sure I see products/services in this vein often, if at all. If anything, it's more of a Dr. Phi- thing.

If you are really set on this, I would advise you to advise the company to hire some PR counsel. If they aren't full of crap they'll tell them the same thing I'm telling you. But a PR freelancer will be able to put together a great press kit and start the ball rolling for them. Good luck.
posted by apple scruff at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2006

I think one mistake businesses tend to make PR-wise is that it's "Opra- or bust".

Absolutely. Realize that the Oprah production staff and showrunners are just mining the newspapers like everyone else.
posted by frogan at 11:59 AM on July 13, 2006

My darling girlfriend is in PR (successfully - you've had two shots to see her on cable news in the last month) and talked to someone we know in the craft business about Oprah and other shows. Apparently she's right that I don't listen to her and I don't remember much of it, however I DO remember very clearly that she said Oprah -will not- have a product on her show if they won't provide one of each for every member of the audience.

So said manf. needs to be willing & able to shoulder that cost.
posted by phearlez at 12:57 PM on July 13, 2006

Before you go for Oprah, try getting into some smaller markets. Oprah has plenty of shows planned out, but talk radio hosts often have hours to fill, and need a guest to fill the void. There are agencies that specialize in providing authors with publicity, and radio hosts (or television, for that matter) with content. Build up some buzz before you try to go for center stage...
posted by LimePi at 3:02 PM on July 13, 2006

I am journalist, and I could at least give you some pointers about how to get media attention.
posted by parmanparman at 5:07 PM on July 13, 2006


Let's you register yourself as someone available as a guest for tv shows/interviews. I've never used it though and came across it only today, after which I remembered reading your question and hunted it down to post this answer :-) All the best!
posted by forwebsites at 11:54 PM on July 13, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the help. To sum, and please correct me, getting on Oprah is like winning the lottery, but like the lottery the show perpetuates the illusion that it is probable to get on. Therefore, since one shot is better than none, it is worth it to at least try, and the end product is useful for other targets as well.

A PR firm will help generate buzz (but that's really the company's job), and we should try to ride that buzz.

Who is the booking agent for Soaprah Plinthfrey?

I'm absolutely positive that the company in question would have no problem putting product in the hands of the audience.
posted by plinth at 7:49 AM on July 14, 2006

I stand by the answer I gave the last time somebody asked how to get on Oprah...
posted by yankeefog at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2006

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