[The Pitch]

"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 15 September 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.




Big Idea: E! meets today's

highest-rated televised events

... on cable!


25 WORDS <=

The natural next step for the

society of celebrity spectacle

that gave rise to E!, F! proves

the first three letters in

funeral are F-U-N.



In an age in which little media

reaches across demographic

boundaries to bring people

together - or, more importantly,

generate a half-decent market

share - one thing can still be

counted on to bring Americans

out of their lifestyle-filtered

niches: death. During early

morning hours when infomercials

usually dominate the airwaves, a

mind-boggling 50 million people,

or 82 percent of households

watching television, were tuned

in to Princess Diana's funeral -

viewing a celebrity-studded

spectacle with even more star

power than the MTV Video Awards.

Compare that to the State of the

Union Address. And though Mother

Teresa's memorial doesn't have the

same televisual appeal

as Diana's, Gianni Versace

died a glamorous enough

death that even those still

flying the flannel wanted to

check out what everyone was




Problem is, anyone with a camera

and a cable network can

broadcast a public funeral - and

an 82 percent market share

divided between four networks

and several news channels isn't

enough to attract a Bud Bowl.

The answer is the F! channel,

which will offer definitive

coverage of famous deaths - all

day and all night. Sure, reruns

will attract only the faithful

(or the downright weird), but

when the world mourns, F!

becomes must-see TV in a way NBC

execs can only dream of. In much

the same way that MTV branched

out from videos into other

aspects of the music scene, F!

will offer original programming

as well. F! Unplugged will

feature the exploits of Dr.

Kevorkian, and Mourning Becomes

Eclectic will give viewers a

glimpse of "alternative" burials

around the globe.



Since most of F!'s programming

will consist of filmed public

events, costs will be low. The

most significant start-up

expense will be a publicity

campaign aimed at convincing

local cable companies to carry

F!, though this outlay may be

mitigated by a possible

partnership with G-SPAN. The

steady stream of celebrity death

should ensure plenty of free

promotion - elaborate outside

advertising isn't necessary when

the passing of even culturally

marginal figures receives

extensive what-does-it-all-mean

metareporting in the nation's

newsweeklies. Rather, the

channel will produce effective

but inexpensive posters that

feature catchy slogans like

"Imagine living in a non-funeral

country," "Tragedy from 9 to 5,

eulogies from 8 to 11," and "You

could have talked to your wife

any time."

courtesy of the Dr. Dreidel

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