TV Series Will Only Air In-Flight

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NEW YORK -- JetBlue Airlines and American Express, already partners in a frequent-flyer loyalty program, are about to take reality TV to a new level.

The two have started production on "Share the Love: A Rewards Challenge Powered by the JetBlue Card From American Express,” a reality show concept described as a combination of Survivor and The Amazing Race. The program will give two families 48 hours to earn enough American Express Award Dollars to fly home.

The new reality series will only be aired on JetBlue's in-flight TV system.

Seen only on JetBlue flights

But there’s a twist: The series will air only on JetBlue flights in the spring of 2006, with some segments to be featured online at

The project was developed by Hollywood talent agency Endeavor, which represents American Express, and is being produced by Evolution Film & Tape (TLC's Clean Sweep).

JetBlue has offered passengers 36 channels of DirecTV programming on its planes since its launch in 2000, but has been looking at ways to expand the programming offerings on its seatback screens. The company recently began offering first-run movies from 20th Century Fox, and is in talks with other studios to provide movies and other content.

Auditions took place last weekend and again this weekend in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington to select the families that will participate in the challenge. The finalists will be flown to New York or Los Angeles in November.

Overall, the show is of the "feel good" reality genre and encourages contestants to use their JetBlue/American Express cards to earn needed points by making purchases for others they encounter along the way. Essentially, participants will be doing good works at the same time they compete to complete their journeys. They will be helped along by JetBlue crew members, and the family that spends its way home in the most creative fashion is ultimately expected to win the competition.

Popular vote selects winner

The actual winner will be chosen by the show's viewers by popular vote, with winners receiving a year's worth of travel on JetBlue. The second-place family will receive a prize of 40,000 "Award Dollars," equivalent to 200 "TrueBlue" points or two round-trip JetBlue tickets.

"We want to launch the JetBlue Card with a competition that engages our customers and speaks to the benefit of having the JetBlue Card, while having some fun," said Beth Lacey, senior VP-strategic alliances and co-brands for American Express. "An innovative partnership requires an innovative competition."

This is not the first time American Express and JetBlue have teamed up.

The two have been partners since the airline's launch in 2000. In December of 2004, American Express added JetBlue to its Membership Rewards program for enrolled card members to transfer points directly into TrueBlue, JetBlue's frequent-flyer program. The partnership exceeded the one-year goal within three months, prompting the two marketers to announce an extension of the program in June of this year -- the co-branded credit card, the JetBlue Card from American Express. The card provides consumers the only other way to earn TrueBlue points on JetBlue outside of actually flying on the airline.

Brand integration promotes new credit card

The reality TV show concept was born out of the creation of the new credit card.

"We think the competition is a great way for us to showcase our new card," said Andrea Spiegel, JetBlue's senior VP-sales and marketing. "It's especially important to our family market, who consider the JetBlue experience, especially the DirecTV service, a fun part of their vacation."
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