HOME DEPOT LOOKS TO BUILD FOR FUTURE WITH KIDS TV SHOW

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Home Depot is making an unusual leap into TV programming, creating a show that targets an unusual demographic for the home-improvement retailer: kids.

"Homer's Workshop," produced by Big Kid Productions with Home Depot and syndicated by MG/Perin, is being sold to TV stations as Federal Communications Commission-friendly "edutainment" that teaches kids how to build stuff.

The show is set for a fall 1998 launch and is being offered in two-year packages of 52 half-hour episodes.

ONE PROJECT PER SHOW

The live-action show is an off-shoot of the retailer's in-store clinics for 6-to-12-year-olds. Each episode will have the host, named Homer, execute a single "do-it-yourself adventure," like building a birdhouse.

"Home Depot is taking a long-range view with this show," said Richard Perin, president-CEO of MG/Perin. "They're saying, 'These kids are going to be our consumers in the next generation, and we need to start making an impression on them now.'"

Home Depot has 590 stores in 40 states and four Canadian provinces; it plans to double the number of stores by 2000.

Any promotion of Home Depot will have to be subtle and within the content of the program; FCC rules don't allow companies to advertise products in shows based on products they market.

Home Depot will support the launch with an extensive in-store promotional push. The strategy is to team with the broadcaster in each market to create customized marketing programs. Third-party promotional partners also will be sought.

"Promotion is always a problem when you're a once-a-week, syndicated show. A kids show is even worse," Mr. Perin said, adding Home Depot is "going to promote

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