MEDIA: Wanted: heroic deeds of business against all odds - Got a heartwarming story of business endeavor? The folks at CNNfn's Entrepreneurs Only love tales of passion, effort and yes, even business failure. Claire Atkinson reports

Whether your client is a major new airline or first-time bar owners, then CNNfn's Entrepreneurs Only is a show you ought to know about. The New York-based producers are currently looking for compelling stories about people who've overcome personal tragedy or have executed a great idea to put on their business show.

Whether your client is a major new airline or first-time bar owners, then CNNfn's Entrepreneurs Only is a show you ought to know about. The New York-based producers are currently looking for compelling stories about people who've overcome personal tragedy or have executed a great idea to put on their business show.

Whether your client is a major new airline or first-time bar owners, then CNNfn's Entrepreneurs Only is a show you ought to know about. The New York-based producers are currently looking for compelling stories about people who've overcome personal tragedy or have executed a great idea to put on their business show.

For instance, the producers chose to profile a New Jersey couple whose plans to open a bar were wrecked by a flood. After two years, they finally saved enough money to fulfill their dreams. In October CNNfn correspondent Susan Lisovicz interviewed Chuck Williams about how a love of food and a trip to Paris spawned the upscale kitchen store, Williams-Sonoma.

The show's scope is extremely wide. The producers will feature anyone, from a weaver in a remote village in New Mexico to a Fortune 500 CEO.

Anchor Tony Guida reels off a list of categories that have been covered: musicians, artists, technology experts, home-repair businesses. But beware, the breadth of subject matter means your pitch has to be extra special to stand out.

Executive producer Warren Lewis has been with the weekday series for the past six months. He was previously a technology segment producer on MSNBC and worked for CBS News as Tel Aviv bureau chief. Lewis says: 'It isn't that easy to get on, because we can be very selective. We are looking for conflict, tragedy, fighting against the odds.'

Lewis says PR executives are free to call him if they have a good story, as long as they accept that there are times when he can't return calls.

E-mail is the best way to reach the team at CNNfn, but use too much revolutionary vocabulary and your missive will be deleted immediately.

CNNfn's location in central Manhattan means there is a temptation to focus on stories about business executives in the New York area, but Lewis says Entrepreneurs Only makes an effort to incorporate stories from across the country. Correspondents filed from the Appalachia region for a piece called 'Hope In The Hills,' and from Louisiana for a series called 'Business In The Bayou.' The show has also done specials featuring events such as New York Restaurant Week.

Entrepreneurs Only is recorded 'live-to-tape' around 6:30 pm EST, and airs three hours later. There is also a repeat at 3:30 am. If you're looking to gain some airtime, try to call booker Joanna DiGeronimo about two weeks ahead of the expected appearance.



What makes an entrepreneur

Defining what makes an entrepreneur is a tough business. There are a myriad of dot-com executives who've raised funds, hired staff and leased office space, but that in itself doesn't qualify your client for inclusion.

Anchor Tony Guida explains why some make the cut and others don't: 'It's people who've had the passion and the conviction to see their idea through to a business. Passion is what we're looking for. And people who, in the face of enormous odds, see what others don't.'

Guida adds that people who are on the show are generally in business, though there are exceptions. If your client's idea hasn't quite evolved into an operating company, then you still have a chance of gaining coverage, as did one scientist who was looking for biotech funding. While the vast majority are success stories, the producers are also interested in hearing from people who want to talk about their failures - though they admit that's harder to find.

The show is divided into four segments. The first is a taped package; the second, a five-minute live guest interview. That's followed by a block offering the business headlines of the day. The show ends with an advice segment on things such as tax laws for new businesses. Lewis says he is interested in hearing pitches to help book this expert section.

While the AOL/Time Warner merger may have already benefited some areas of CNN, both Guida and Lewis complain that too little of their show's material makes it to the CNNfn Web site - a fact they'd like to make public.

Guida says, 'Little turns up on the Web site, though it is being redesigned, which may change things.' He jokes, 'They keep telling us about convergence, but all that's converging is the ceiling.'



But who's watching?

The primetime CNNfn show is available in 15 million homes, but trying to find out how many people actually tune in is a tough job. There are no figures available, though it's safe to say it is in the hundreds of thousands rather than millions. But Lewis says an earlier time slot given to the show during the Democratic Conventions has helped attract new viewers.

Jet Blue Airways vice president of corporate communications Gareth Edmonson-Jones says: 'Entrepreneurs Only is a brilliant show for PR people to present a different side of their companies. Because it's a full half-hour, you get to delve into other aspects that don't get the headlines.'

The CNNfn team came and filmed Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman waking up at home with his nine children. Entrepreneurs Only looked at how Neeleman had launched three airlines in his time, including Morris Air and WestJet in Canada.

Edmonson-Jones says that although ratings are modest, the appearance generated a lot of follow-up. 'The feedback was terrific. It is an agenda-setting (show) and it got people from the press calling who were interested in him.'

Lewis says he's prepared to consider people who've been on other shows if their story is compelling enough, because he believes Entrepreneurs Only does a better job. Lewis is planning on making it even better, spending some time over the next few months fixing the overall appearance of the show, though he admits that is something of a 'money issue.'

However, he is expanding the range of guests to include a greater mix of genders and ethnicities. 'We try to cover a cross-section, so that it's not all white men in white shirts.' But more than anything, Lewis says, it's about the stories.



CONTACT LIST

Entrepreneurs Only

CNNfn 440 Ninth Avenue

13th floor

New York, NY 10001

Tel: (212) 714 7800

Fax: (212) 714 7921

Email:eo@cnnfn.com

Web: www.cnnfn.com

Executive producer: Warren Lewis

Line producer: Megan DeSales

Segment producer/booker: Joanna DiGeronimo

Field producers: John Dobosz; Tom Martin; Andrew Ross

Writer: Warren Kozak

Production assistant: Jessica Rappaport

Anchor: Tony Guida.



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