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ABC kills "V" skywriting stunt

ABC has scrubbed its plan to festoon the skies over the country's major landmarks with giant red "V"s to promote the Nov. 3 debut of its alien invasion drama coincidentally called "V."

Last week, the network announced it would deploy skywriting planes above 26 landmarks - Statue of Liberty, Santa Monica Pier, blah, blah, blah - in 15 cities over 12 days - all to promote a four-day sampling of the science-fiction series which ABC then plans to take off the air and return early next calendar year.

"V," which is debuting on the one-year anniversary of President Obama's election, is about a bunch of good-looking, charismatic aliens who come to earth and promise to show us the way to "Hope," "Change" and universal health care, but who turn out to be ugly lizard-people who want to infiltrate our government and have rallied the country's youth behind their nefarious campaign.

Morena Baccarin (ABC/David Gray)

The original 1980's miniseries of same name on which ABC's new series is based was seen as a thinly veiled portrait of fascism. In the original, the lizard people's ultimate goal is to drain the earth of all its natural resources. Too late - we beat them to it! Hence the irony of the skywriting campaign?

Anyway, getting back to that campaign, though you can't throw a brick in Washington without hitting some renowned and highly photogenic landmark, ABC had not planned to "V" up the joint because of the restrictions about plane travel over the city since Sept. 11, 2001.

This week, the trade paper The Hollywood Reporter learned the network had scrubbed the campaign. That report about the campaign's cancellation, and other reports by news outlets that followed THR's lead on the story, all point their finger at the TV Column's coverage of the campaign, in which we noted how many gallons of fuel, grams of lead (aviation fuel is exempt from EPA lead-fuel), tons of CO2 and other pollutants the skywriting gag might dump into the air, and parent-company Disney's stated goal of cutting its fuel emissions in half by 2012.

We called ABC for comment; a rep confirmed the skywriting plan had been scrubbed. Asked why, the rep told the TV Column the network had decided to spend its money on other initiatives and declined to elaborate.

To recap: The skywriting campaign was a marketing stunt intended to get people talking about "V." This is exactly what the press is now doing. ABC has achieved its end without having to spend gobs money on the actual sky writing.

Happy to help.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  October 28, 2009; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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The polar bears thank you. And, so do I. This better be a good remake.

Posted by: LBinVA | October 28, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

heyy happy to help is also a symbol of vodafone..[:)]
Anyways nice blog...
Jack Brosnan
camper hire

Posted by: jackbrosnan18 | October 29, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

It's not the environment, it's the waste of money since the network is only going to run four - count them - 4 - episodes and then yank the program until next spring or something. What exactly would be the point? After the programming fiasco that was "Lost" - I have no idea what they are thinking - but this was a lame idea from the get-go if the program was not going to run at the beginning of the Fall season. Why bother?

Posted by: jqw3827 | October 29, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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