Pssst, CBS Is Stalking You

From Bipartisan Cupcakes to Human Chess, TV Nets Try Innovative Tune-In Campaigns For Fall Slate

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Out of 50 new network TV shows introduced last season, only 12 were renewed. So to maximize the chances for this year's programs, broadcasters are testing out unusual campaigns to get people talking -- and watching -- the 2014-2015 season slate. From the creepy to the charitable, here's a look at what the networks are doing to attract viewers to premieres.

"Stalker" (CBS): The Eye Network is giving "Facebook stalking" a whole new meaning. At, users are prompted to give the show's Threat Assessment Unit access to their Facebook page to provide clues as the unit searches for a fictitious stalker. Facebook friends pop up as people who have "reported suspicious behavior of the individual."

"Gotham" (Fox): One of many villains Detective Gordon will face in the series is Oswald Cobblepot, also known as The Penguin, played by Robin Lord Taylor. On the morning of Sept. 22, (the day of the premiere), Taylor look-a-likes dressed in tuxedos and carrying the character's signature black umbrella will flood New York City posing for photos with fans and taking group pictures at iconic locations.

"Madam Secretary" (CBS): It doesn't matter if you're a Republican or Democrat -- you get a free cupcake. CBS and Georgetown Cupcake are teaming up Sept. 20 to hand out red velvet cupcakes topped with the CBS drama series' logo the day before its premiere. Participating locations include Georgetown, SoHo, Los Angeles, and Boston.

"Red Band Society" (Fox): This week, marching bands in 10 markets are "banding together for good" and surprising patients in hospitals across the country in light of this week's series premiere.

"The Blacklist" (NBC): NBC had everyone doing double takes as images of criminal Raymond "Red" Reddington, played by James Spader, appeared on mock covers of 10 different magazine flip sides during August and September issues of magazines. Titles included Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker.

"Scorpion" (CBS): To promote its new drama, CBS set up a human game of chess in New York City and sponsored "Nerd Nites" in bars around the country.

"The Voice" (NBC): NBC used Oculus Rift virtual reality technology to give fans a complete audition experience. Fans can sit in the iconic swivel chairs and interact with judges Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. "The Voice 360" is touring the U.S. through Sept. 22.

"Selfie" (ABC): For this modern retelling of Pygmalion, ABC is going heavy on social. The network pushed out the first episode on social media, enabling watching on Twitter and sharing in tweets. ABC also created a living billboard in malls where the main character, Eliza, invites shoppers to take a selfie with her. The alphabet network, moreover, challenged people to a "Selfie Social Media Cleanse." On Sept. 16 they encouraged people to disconnect from social media for 24-hours and engage in the real world. On the next day they invited those who disconnected to share their experiences using #SelfieSocialCleanse.

"How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC): TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday) -- that's the acronym ABC is using to promote its Thursday night all-Shonda Rhimes lineup. "How to Get Away With Murder" will join "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" on Thursday nights. To promote the night, ABC had airplanes fly over beaches in major cities in New York, California and New Jersey over Labor Day weekend, asking "Where on Earth is Olivia Pope?" The signs didn't have any "Scandal" or ABC branding, only including #TGIT.

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