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Wendy's International is scheduled to sponsor ABC's 3-D promotion slated for the May sweeps, according to executives familiar with the discussions.

The burger chain apparently had been shopping several networks in recent weeks for a tie-in opportunity to introduce a new line of pita sandwiches.

The promotion is budgeted at between $10 million and $15 million. Wendy's executives are expected to officially approve the pact next month.

The arrangement will make Wendy's a distribution point for consumers to get the special glasses needed to view several ABC programs broadcast in 3-D during the one-week promotion, according to insiders.

The same month, NBC also is planning to promote a 3-D episode of "3rd Rock From the Sun," sponsored by Coca-Cola Co.

Neither Wendy's nor ABC would officially comment on the promotion.

Such a splashy marketing move is unusual for Wendy's, which typically has stuck to a tried formula of introducing new products through ads featuring spokesman/founder Dave Thomas. But new spots featuring Mr. Thomas are on hold, pending his recovery from heart bypass surgery last month. Bates USA, New York, is the agency.

The new pita product is the burger chain's entry into the broader "wrap sandwich" menu category, which fast-feeders hope will appeal to more health-conscious customers (AA, Oct. 28).

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