One might not think of USA Network co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel as showmen in the classic vaudeville song-and-dance sense.
The two agree, preferring to share the ICG Publicists Guild Television Showmanship Award with the cabler’s marketing and publicity teams, which continually use a little bit of a social-media razzmatazz and other PR know-how to spread the word on the network’s fare.
“Publicity has never been more important,” says McCumber, who ran the marketing division before his promotion to the co-prexy level. “The way viewers find our shows is through word-of-mouth, and that’s a key to publicity. Our team has done an incredible job by attaching our shows to things that are happening in popular culture.”
And it’s not just the series that Wachtel, McCumber and their USA cohorts are selling, but the net itself.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve had to sell the brand — both of the network and its characters,” Wachtel says. “Part of the showmanship was to explain that the brand is organic to our content.”
A big priority for 2013 for the pair is to spread the word for USA’s upcoming new fare, which includes the premiere of drama series “Graceland” and the acquisition of “Modern Family.”
Awards reflect evolution of profession | Kirk Douglas valued publicists’ role | Marvel’s Feige keeps tentpole fare fresh | USA’s McCumber, Wachtel prioritize marketing