FYI 03.22.06

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Ace Hardware Corp will use its April 10 appearance on NBC’s “The Apprentice” to launch a national charitable campaign to help fund improvements and career development at schools. First-season winner Bill Rancic will serve as spokesman, appearing in a commercial following the episode that encourages customers to visit and donate to the effort. Ace Hardware stores in 10 cities will donate $5,000 to schools that Mr. Rancic will visit. | The World Poker Tour Enterprises is extending its brand with two new ventures: a WPT-branded poker room at Foxwoods Resort Casino and a spinoff series, "Professional Poker Tour," on Travel Channel giving the network 41 weeks of poker-playing programming. WPT previously licensed its name for slot machines and gaming tables, but the room at Foxwoods, a frequent site of WPT events in southeastern Connecticut, is its first poker room. | Nick at Nite, Procter & Gamble and Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest USA will produce “At the Poocharelli's,” a series of eight 90-second interstitials about a middle-class family of canines that will integrate fabric freshener and odor remover Febreze into the show's story lines. The so-called mini-sitcom will premiere on Nick at Nite on April 11, and will be presented in weekly installments every Tuesday evening. The three companies collaborated on programming, creative production, scripts, set design, graphics packaging and promotional elements.

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