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Omnicom exec’s job: ad-friendly TV shows

Reisenberg worked on deals for 'Restaurant,' 'Door'

NEW YORK — Ad giant Omnicom said Thursday it has tapped Robert Reisenberg to run a new unit that will create TV programming as platforms for its clients — a growing trend in a world of personal video recorders where viewers can zap commercials.

Faced with a potential dip in business, agencies are proactively brokering sponsorship and programming pacts for their clients. Omnicom’s biggest accounts include Pepsi, McDonald’s, Chrysler and Visa.

Reisenberg ran a similar division at rival Interpublic, called Magna Global Entertainment. He produced over 50 hours of primetime programs including “The Restaurant” on NBC, sponsored by American Express and Mitsubishi. Magna’s Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation for TNT included Emmy-award winning “Door to Door” with William H. Macy and Helen Mirren, “Miss Lettie and Me” with Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds, “Wilder Days” with Peter Falk and upcoming “The Winning Season” with Matthew Modine and Kristin Davis.

The advertiser usually pays for programming — directly or indirectly — but every deal is different. In December, Walt Disney’s ABC and MindShare North America, a unit of WPP Group, announced plans to develop TV shows and allow advertisers to weigh in early on the programs they sponsor. The firms said they would share development costs.

Reisenberg, who will report to Daryl Simm, CEO of Omnicom’s Media Group, told Variety: “It’s an exciting opportunity to launch an entertainment company that will have the broadest of scope. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

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