Jonathan Ross still relies on the fun factor

Nearly four million viewers tuned in to watch Jonathan Ross' return to prime-time TV this month as the controversial host made the migration from BBC to ITV with his new chat show.

Smash hit: the new Jonathan Ross Show
Smash hit: the new Jonathan Ross Show

On the first night, Sarah Jessica Parker, Adele and Lewis Hamilton christened the sofa. The new show employs a similar format to its BBC One predecessor with chat and music performances.

But despite a drop of more than one million viewers for week two, possibly due to it clashing with the BBC's live broadcast of the Last Night of the Proms, PR professionals still believe the show's high-profile time slot will offer invaluable opportunities for their clients.

Entertainment specialist Faber & Bishopp PR's director Steph Faber says there are teething problems with the show: 'One thing I notice is that Ross has not allowed for the ad breaks to be built into the flow of his interviews. Having ad breaks is a major change from his BBC show and it has felt quite stilted.'

But she argues that the programme's gloss and time slot will make it a good platform for PROs to promote their best clients. 'Guests will be guaranteed a fun, edgier interview than on a daytime sofa, and the show's production values and inherited audience from Red or Black? make it an appealing choice against its competitors,' she says.

PHA Media chairman Phil Hall says the show offers opportunities for consumer PROs looking to place products to a susceptible Saturday night audience, as long as the products have a humorous edge.

Indeed, in his first ITV outing, Ross convinced diminutive Sex and the City star Parker to chow down on some 'quintessentially British' pork pies - securing invaluable coverage.

'Providing Ross can have fun with the product and raise a few laughs around it, then there is a PR opport-unity. But the client must have a sense of humour and the product has to work in that skittish, off-the-cuff, Jonathan Ross way,' says Hall.

He advises PROs to find out who will be appearing on the show in the near future, and work in their products accordingly.

'You can chat them up. Find out from researchers who is coming on the show and try to adapt your product to suit them. For instance, if you have got Elle Macpherson talking about her lingerie range, then arrange for Ann Summers underwear to be on the show and get the audience to vote on which brand is the sexiest,' says Hall.

But it is crucial to sell both the products and guests in as early as possible, and prove they will help the programme entertain its audience. 'Slots are filled early and you must make sure that the interview you are offering will be an enticing proposition to the host too,' says Faber. 'It will be just as important for Ross that there are funny news lines and unpredictable moments that will guarantee column inches the next day.'

Channel ITV
Running time 60 minutes
Airs Saturday, 9pm
Recorded Thursdays
Production house Hot Sauce Productions
Contact; 020 7298 0280


Laura Pettitt, Head of film and entertainment, Diffusion

PR professionals must do their research before approaching broadcast channels. It is key to match the right calibre of talent and the specific project they are promoting to the show PROs are pitching.

I know from speaking to producers that this is a basic error many PROs make when pitching broadcast. There is no point pitching a film that is shooting in Ipswich to BBC London or a children's film to Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

PROs should be prepared with lots of background career information on the celebrity and the project they are promoting. Never assume this is a given. If the appearance is connected to a film project, they will want to know what the rating of the project is. It can be very difficult for daytime chat shows such as Daybreak or Loose Women to have guests talking about 15- to 18-rated films because they can't play those all-important teaser clips.

Normally, we will place a call to the show's producer or celebrity booker before sending a follow-up email with all the background information they need. We then follow up a few days later once they have had a chance to see how they can make it work.

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