A&E Goes To 'The Dog' With Lynyrd Skynyrd

New reality show sponsors southern-rock legends

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% The A&E Network is launching a reality show about controversial bounty hunter "Dog" Chapman called "Dog the Bounty Hunter." Wanting to promote the show in an innovative way, the cable network has struck a partnership with legendary southern-rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd to sponsor the band's national tour this summer.

"[Dog] is a raucous guy and it's going to be a raucous show. So we needed an [act] with an American, blue-collar, tough-guy image," said Bobby Oppenheim, president-business development at Omnicom Group's Aaron Walton Entertainment, which brokered the deal.

The cornerstone of the sponsorship is a three-minute animated "mini-movie" that airs on big -screen monitors at the venues, just prior to the band taking the stage. The animation includes actual voice-overs of Lynyrd Skynyrd band members as well as the Dog. Other sponsorship features include the airing of the 60-second series promo spot on the venue big screens during intermission and on monitors at the official Skynyrd merchandise booth.

The deal also includes premium giveaways, signage, online promotion of the show on Skynyrd's official Web site and VIP tickets/Meet 'n' Greets with the band. Tracks from Skynyrd's most recent studio album, "Vicious Cycle," are also being licensed and integrated into certain episodes of the show. The tour launched July 1 and runs through Oct.10. It will play in about 50 markets nationwide.

"The crux of the program was the original idea of finding the perfect band for your target audience—airing a message to them when they're totally focused and psyched, a message that [A&E] creates with the band that is compelling and real. That's the power," said Oppenheim.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% The anime mini-movie has the band's management hiring the Dog to track down the bandmembers—who've gone fishing—so they don't miss the night's gig. Chapman became a national cult hero last year when he apprehended fugitive Andrew Luster, a convicted rapist and heir to the Max Factor fortune, in Mexico.

The show makes its debut at the end of August. The deal was negotiated on behalf of A&E by AWE with the band's management, Vector Management in Nashville. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

A&E was a client of AWE co-presidents Oppenheim and Marcus Peterzell at their previous company, Music Vision. The duo were hired by AWE founder Aaron Walton in the spring to take over day-to-day leadership of the company.

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