Mighty Morphin Power Rangers MARGARET LOESCH MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS

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The night before Fox's upfront sales presentation to advertisers for the 1993-94 TV season, the network's senior VP-sales, Jon Nesvig, pleaded with Fox Children's Network President Margaret Loesch to omit a clip of one new show from the presentation.

Mr. Nesvig was concerned that "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" wouldn't be well received by the ad community and would cause Fox's kids lineup to be the brunt of jokes.

"He begged me not to show it," recalls Ms. Loesch. "Ultimately, we decided to keep it in."

What "it" was was one of the oddest additions to kids TV programming: a strange, campy mix of live-action and cheesy special effects done in the retro style of 1960s Japanese superhero programs.

"I thought she was nuts," confesses Mr. Nesvig. And so did some of the advertisers and agency executives to whom Ms. Loesch previewed the concept.

"Basically, they thought we'd lost our minds," she says. "A lot of advertisers pulled me aside and said it was a mistake. Only one thought it would work."

Ms. Loesch actually stumbled on the concept. After looking at candidates from Saban Entertainment's development slate, Ms. Loesch asked Chairman Heim Saban if he had anything "a little different. Something that was off-beat and kooky." Mr. Saban sheepishgly told Ms. Loesch he did have such a show but that "nobody liked it."

Well, she did, and Fox successfully sold the show during the advanced sales period, based largely on her track-record in developing kids hits as well as bargain basement prices used in packages to offset some of Fox's pricier shows.

What advertisers got for their trepidation was the bargain of the decade. During the 1993-94 TV season, "Morphin" became the runaway ratings leader, overdelivering Fox's original ratings guarantees to advertisers by more than 100%.

Also, Ms. Loesch projects Fox eventually could receive "millions" from merchandising/sales of "Morphin" licensed toy characters. The products proved to be top sellers during the '93 Christmas-holiday sales season.

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