ALLEN'S STAR POWER TURNS TO AD DEALS

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Bigger than Roseanne. Bigger than Tom Cruise. And almost as big as the pope.

He's Tim Allen, Hollywood's multimedia sensation of the holiday season-and perhaps beyond. The comedian is currently starring in the highest-rated show on TV, "Home Improvement," and in last week's top-grossing film, "The Santa Clause." This week, his book, "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man," is second only to His Holiness John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" on The New York Times best-seller list. But it's climbing.

And, Advertising Age has learned, next week Mr. Allen is slated to grace the cover of Time.

Mr. Allen is now a prime candidate for ad deals. He has pitched for Builders Square and Target Stores. His commercial agent, Sonjia Warren Brandon, said she has been inundated with offers and Mr. Allen would pitch again, time permitting, for the right company. The star will "pick the product that's right for him," Ms. Brandon said. "He's an all-American guy, born in Detroit, and he's only interested in American products."

"He's a Bill Cosby for the '90s. His all-family appeal makes him so appropriate for Disney," said Randy Reiss, exec VP for Walt Disney Television & Telecommunications. "Home Improvement" will begin its off-network run next year. So far, it has commanded the second-highest rights fees in syndicated history. No. 1? "The Cosby Show."

Mr. Allen is a Disney man all the way: "Home Improvement" is produced by Disney; "Santa," which took in $70 million in its first 17 days in theaters, is a Disney picture; and "Naked Man" was published by Hyperion, a Disney unit.

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