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'Dr. Laura' promos met with mixed reaction

‘Dr. Laura’ promos met with mixed reaction

NEW ORLEANS — Upcoming yakker “Dr. Laura” will be promoted as “a 911 call to your conscience” in the weeks leading up to the show’s debut Sept. 11. That’s according to TV station promo managers who attended a marketing workshop for the show at the Promax & BDA 2000 convention in New Orleans.

The “911” slogan is one of two sayings to be featured in on-air promos that were unveiled for the first time to stations at the event thrown by the show’s producer/distributor Paramount. The other slogan is “Let the dialogue begin.” Gathering was closed to the press.

Par execs and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the radio host/author who will host, were tight-lipped about skein’s format, content and style, offering no footage from the show, which they say is yet to swing into production, according to attendees.

Reaction from stations was mixed.

T.J. Laffan, promo producer for WICU in Erie, Penn., offered one of the more negative reactions. “This presentation does not raise confidence in me. I’m not sure, based on the promos, this show will actually make it to launch,” Laffan said. “The protests (by the gay community) are of great concern to me. If my vote has any weight at the station, we will not air it.”

Douglas Jones of KYW Philadelphia said that based on the info laid out in the session, he expected the TV show to be less controversial than Schlessinger’s radio show. “I’m more optimistic about the show now that I saw the presentation.”

Likewise, an East Coast promo exec who declined to be named was enthusiastic. “It’s an exciting opportunity to reach the radio audience,” she said. “We’re hopeful. We need a hit show, and we need a lead-in to our news.”

— Melissa Grego

‘Spider-Man’ snares scribe

Scott Rosenberg (“High Fidelity,” “Con Air”) has been tapped to rewrite the high-priority Sam Raimi-helmed actioner “Spider-Man” for Columbia Pictures.

Rosenberg, whose current effort “Gone in 60 Seconds” is unspooling nationwide, will rework the script, which has already undergone two incarnations from “The Lost World” scribe David Koepp.

“Spider-Man” is being developed by Marvel Comics and Sony, and its development and production will be overseen by Col exec veepee of production Matt Tolmach.

Rosenberg was repped by ICM and by attorney Robert Offer.

— Claude Brodesser

‘Bette!’ boards in Hollywood, but keeps pied-a-terre in N.Y.

Looks like Bette Midler’s new CBS laffer won’t be filmed in New York after all.

Midler and Columbia TriStar Television have decided to produce the much buzzed-about skein at Sony’s Culver City studios rather than at the Kaufman Astoria complex in Queens. Midler will opt for a bicoastal lifestyle, maintaining residences in both Los Angeles and Gotham.

Insiders close to the production said the shift to Culver City was a matter of convenience, since most of the show’s writers and thesps live on the West Coast.

Should the series make it to a second season, however, there’s a good chance production could end up in New York. CTTV has maintained an option on the Kaufman Astoria soundstage, just in case Midler and company decide to head back East. In the interim, CTTV is talking to Artists Television Group about subletting the Gotham soundstage for ATG’s new laffer “Madigan Men.”

Meanwhile, Midler’s show– which had been called “The Bette Show” and “Bette” at various times over the past few months — is now being promoted by CBS as “Bette!” There’s still a chance the exclamation point could be dropped by the time the show hits the air next fall.

— Josef Adalian and John Dempsey

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