Variety reports that ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday served up a generous plug for a new series on the network -- unbeknownst to the producers of the breakfastcast. As weathercaster Tony Perkins was doing his usual stop-and-chats with members of the show's streetside studio audience, he happened upon several members of the Push, Nev., hockey team. The rowdy players even foisted a Push Hockey T-shirt on Perkins.
The only problem? There is no such place as Push, Nev., -- except in the minds of the writers of ABC new hybrid drama/reality series "Push, Nevada," from executive producers Sean Bailey and Ben Affleck. The "hockey players" were actually actors hired by ADD, a marketing company hired by ABC to mount a guerilla PR campaign on behalf of the show. Apparently neither ADD nor ABC Entertainment, however, let anyone at ABC News in on the joke in advance. "Good Morning America" does have audience vetters who are supposed to weed out pranksters like those from ADD, but they didn't catch on in time.
An ABC News rep declined comment. But not surprisingly, "Good Morning America" execs contacted their West Coast peers when they realized what had happened, according to network insiders in Burbank. ABC Entertainment execs assured them such a stunt won't happen again. "This is a show that is very different and we are trying to market it in a different way," an ABC spokesman said. Nonetheless, he added, "ADD didn't take into account the kinds of questions that could arise by enacting this sort of strategy within the same company (airing the show)."