You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

There’s no escaping Fox’s ‘Alcatraz’ blitz

Elaborate marketing campaign tubthumps new mystery-thriller

With so much material to work with, Fox’s marketing mavens couldn’t help but devise an elaborate marketing campaign to tubthump the new mystery-thriller “Alcatraz.”

The show mines the legends of the notorious federal prison located on a rocky island in the San Francisco Bay. “Alcatraz,” which bows tonight with a two-hour opener, also has hefty built-in marketing muscle: It comes from J.J. Abrams, and other “Lost” alums, notably co-star Jorge Garcia, are also involved.

Fox has seeded promos for the show across the Internet, including a branded placement inside the popular Zynga-distribbed Facebook game “Empires and Allies” (which features prisons as a key part of its storyline). Another widely viewed viral vid has been the faux promo spot for a book about Alcatraz written by the character played by Garcia.

“Not only does J.J. have that built-in fanbase, but add on top of that a great cast and set it in a place called Alcatraz. It’s just a gift to marketers,” said Joe Earley, Fox’s prexy of marketing and communications.

The piece de resistance of the launch ballyhoo was Wednesday’s premiere party held inside the Rock itself — complete with the arrivals line snaking through the prison showers and guests eating spartan chow from metal plates. Many of the 400 attendees were fans who won tickets through local radio and TV promotions.

Logistically, it was a challenge to pull off, because everything had to be ferried over to the island, and planners had only two hours to prep after the prison, now operated as a national park, closed to tourists. Earley credits the determination of the net’s creative services to make it happen for the sheer promo value as the event spurred a flurry of media attention.

“It was well worth it to be sitting in Cell Block D watching those scenes shot in the cell block,” Earley said. “When it’s dark and you’re out there on Alcatraz island, no matter how jaded you may be (about premiere events), you know it’s a really cool thing to experience.”

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Jada Pinkett Smith's

    TV News Roundup: Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete' Releases Season 3 Trailer

    In today’s roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases a trailer for Season 3 of “Sneaky Pete,” and “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith sets a return date on Facebook Watch. FIRST LOOKS The official trailer for the third season of “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime Video has been released, showing off the new lies and [...]

  • Tammy Filler Nathan Najarian NBC

    E! Expands News Coverage, Brings 'Today' Vet Tammy Filler Aboard (EXCLUSIVE)

    E! is expanding its entertainment-news programming, with plans to add three more hours of coverage to its linear schedule in 2020, Variety has learned. To help spearhead the effort, the cable channel is bringing aboard Tammy Filler, a veteran producer on NBC’s “Today,” to lead creative and production for E! News. The expansion of news [...]

  • Armando Iannucci

    Armando Iannucci Space Comedy 'Avenue 5' Ordered to Series at HBO

    HBO has given a series order to the comedy “Avenue 5” from creator Armando Iannucci. The series is described as a space tourism comedy set forty years in the future when the solar system is everyone’s oyster. Hugh Laurie stars as Ryan Clark, the captain of the space cruise ship Avenue 5. The series also [...]

  • NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New

    'NCIS: Los Angeles' and 'NCIS: New Orleans' Renewed at CBS

    CBS has renewed “NCIS: Los Angeles” for an 11th season, and “NCIS: New Orleans” for a sixth season. Both action drama are spinoffs of “NCIS,” which was renewed in early April. “NCIS: Los Angeles” follows a Naval Criminal Investigative Service division based in the City of Angels that is tasked with catching dangerous and elusive [...]


    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • TV Shows to Watch the Week

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of April 22, 2019: 'Gentleman Jack' and the NFL Draft

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Gentleman Jack” debuts on HBO, and “Kobra Kai” season two drops on YouTube [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content