WHIPPANY, NJ: The Idea Network, an 18-month-old, two-person media
and PR boutique, has been hired to sweat the details of Richard Simmons'
public image. The fuzzy-haired fitness coach is the first celebrity
client to retain the full-time services of the firm, which is operated
by founder and president Erin Saxton and former Lippe Taylor director of
media relations Jennifer Urezzio.
"We have had a great working relationship with the Idea Network," said
Celebrities Plus president Michael Catalano, who serves as Simmons'
business manager. Catalano added that the "personal attention" Saxton
and Urezzio will be able to provide convinced him to steer his client
their way. In the past, Simmons' publicity was handled by larger
outfits, including BWR.
The Idea Network - which landed another new job recently when the
American Heart Association tapped it to generate coverage for its
spokesperson, gymnast Dominique Dawes, and the organization's "Choose to
Move" campaign - will focus on "reintroducing" Simmons to the
Saxton said that she and Urezzio hope to capitalize on his busy travel
schedule to arrange interviews with local media outlets. National
audiences, meanwhile, will be shown lesser-known sides of Simmons;
future television appearances, for example, might emphasize his culinary
"I think a lot of people think, 'Oh Richard, he's just crazy,' or, 'He's
just a lot of fun,'" explained Saxton. "But there's more to Richard than
just a guy who runs on stage in a pair of striped shorts."