WB'S BILLION-DOLLAR TV PRIZE GAME TO PROCEED

Not Affected by Delay of Related 'Live From Tomorrow' Show

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Even as it delays the debut of Live From Tomorrow because of a lack of sufficient sponsors, The WB will push ahead with a related billion-dollar game show special underwritten by Pepsi, according to the network.

The billion-dollar program, which is also in need of additional support to be viable, will be the first game show ever to offer as much as $1 billion to a single winner.

Start to be pushed back
At the Association of National

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Advertisers' Television Advertising Forum in New York this morning, The WB's president, Jed Petrick, said the network would push back the start of Live From Tomorrow from June to the fall or later. He indicated this move was necessitated because the three sponsors signed so far -- PepsiCo, Sony PlayStation and Reebok -- were not enough to fully support the show.

He said the network was still committed to "Live From Tomorrow", a position that was reiterated by Matti Leshem, who is the executive vice president of Diplomatic, a Los Angeles-based production company that is producing the live news and entertainment show.

"We are looking for a second premier advertiser. ... We want to have all our ducks in a row. There is no way this show is going away," Mr. Leshem said.

Plenty of attention
The game show has received plenty of attention because its producers are attempting to subvert the traditional network TV business model of 30-second spots. Instead, the producers intend to run no traditional ads and to buy six one-hour slots on the network and sell category-exclusive sponsorships to a handful of advertisers. The advertisers' products would actually be woven into the shows.

Mr. Leshem's partner in Diplomatic is Michael Davies, the creator of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

As for the Pepsi billion-dollar giveaway special, "it is more of a normal format," Mr. Leshem said, indicating that traditional commercials would run. PepsiCo has been looking into securing insurance as a contingency for a winning scenario.

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