Fleishman pushing Mary Lou PBS show

HOUSTON: Fleishman-Hillard's Dallas office is gearing up for a campaign promoting a children's PBS show starring former Olympian Mary Lou Retton.

HOUSTON: Fleishman-Hillard's Dallas office is gearing up for a campaign promoting a children's PBS show starring former Olympian Mary Lou Retton.

Y&R Productions, a Houston company co-owned by Retton, filmed 13 episodes of Mary Lou's Flip Flop Shop, which began airing on the local PBS station last fall. Another 20 or so markets later picked it up, and one of Fleishman's goals is to get the show added to PBS' national feed, said Fleishman SVP and senior partner Larry Meltzer. The agency also hopes the exposure will attract financing for production of more episodes. Fleishman's work includes heavy doses of media relations aimed at parents of 4- to 7-year-olds, as well as PR support at programming conferences.

The half-hour show is the first major project for Y&R, and the first significant entertainment account for Fleishman's Dallas office. Partnering with Retton in the production company is Bill Young, whose own firm supplies advertising and promotional materials for live events.

Retton and her husband, Shannon Kelly, developed the idea for Flip Flop Shop over several years, Meltzer said. Five costumed characters and a rotating cast of children teach life lessons and encourage participation in "creative movement segments.

"Our mission is to motivate children to get off the couch and get actively involved in the themes of the show, said Retton, who gave birth to her fourth child this summer.

Fleishman began working for Y&R in the spring, but ramped up the campaign after Retton's maternity leave, and leading into the fall TV season, Meltzer said. Those involved would not reveal the account's value.

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