Joan Lunden, “The Journal” & Buyer Beware
Buyer beware, indeed.
One of our high-profile clients contacted us to ask for advice on whether or not to participate in the taping of "The Journal." After an introduction from Joan Lunden "herself" the phone was handed to a senior producer who then solicited my client for $22,900 in order to help fund a special that would go out on public TV and the internet to over one million viewers.
Since this did not pass the sniff test–no producer that we know of asks interviewees for money because they always need content, and they seek investors if they need funding–we recommended against this and contacted the Joan Lunden people through here website. We got this response below, which we appreciate even though it took them 12 days to respond. The original pitch is posted below that.
*** From Joan Lunden's Director of Public Relations & Media Development ***
Thank you for contacting us and you were correct in investigating before signing up for this. Please see Joan's advisory on her website (below) and do not esitate to contact me with any further questions.
All my best to you,
Joan Lunden Productions
Director of Public Relations & Media Development
(914) 219 5555
It has come to my attention that entities identifying themselves variously as The Journal, World Progress Report, Inside America, BiographyPT, and Healthwise have been using my name in an improper manner that is without my consent in solicitations promoting the production (at a substantial cost) of public relations videos, commercials and paid-for news segments. The videos and commercials are described in these sales pitches as being for distribution, among other places, through "internet narrowcasting" and public television. Recipients of these solicitations may also be told that I have approved of or am endorsing their product or service, and that such endorsement will be featured in the video.
I wish to make clear that I am NOT connected with, and do not sponsor, endorse or approve of any such unauthorized activities. Such uses of my name, and any implication that I or any one in my office is the producer of such programming, or in the solicitations for such programming, is wholly unauthorized. In addition, the use of my name in a product or service endorsement, as well as any statements that I have endorsed or approve of a product or service in connection with this programming, are false.
It appears to me that the unauthorized use of my name may have arisen from my participation, in 2008, in the filming of certain generic "openings and closings" for what I was told would be educational television segments of less than 5 minutes in length. These segments were later to be produced on topics such as medicine, law and business, and were to be distributed by a company known as World Media Television, Inc. However, the authorized use of my name, likeness and image in such short segments was strictly limited to United States public television station exhibition. I did not create, narrate or appear in the segment content. Nor did I express approval of any products or services depicted in the segments. I have asked World Media Television and its related entities to provide a listing of the air times on public television for its programming (which they claim has aired), but I have not received such a listing to date.
To reiterate, I have not authorized my name to be used in the improper ways described above and certainly not to endorse any product or service.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions about this advisory.
*** The Pitch to Our Client, Resulting in the Joan Lunden Advisory ***
To recap our conversation, I'm currently in pre-production on a short-form documentary series distributed for my Public Television audience. The series is on Pain Management. Should I choose your story, there will be three segments produced in this project:
1)Public Television Interstitial: This is a 3-5 minute educational segment to be distributed as a standalone interstitial to Public Television Stations nationwide for unlimited broadcast at their discretion (estimated reach is over 60 million households). This educational documentary is hosted by Joan Lunden which airs between larger peak and prime time programs.
2)Commercial Television: A 1-minute cross-promotional segment will air on Discovery, TLC, CNN, Travel Channel, Food Network, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC or equivalent networks which match your organization's targeted audience. This will air 1 time nationally and 400 times in the top 200 cities across the country for peak and prime time programming.
3)Corporate Documentary / Internet Web Streaming: The third segment is a 5-6 minute corporate documentary, or corporate identity piece, that is used in conjunction with the email narrowcast campaign as it streams on your website. The narrowcast reaches your targeted audience up to 1,000,000 people. We're currently narrowcasting to over 50 million viewers each month.
As we discussed, on our end there are three basic criteria by which we choose participants to produce for the series:
1) 1. You must have a storyline that is educationally beneficial.
2) 2. You must be able to outline a targeted audience for your educational message.
3) 3. You must have both a desire and ability to educate the public television viewer.
If you meet these criteria, and we choose your story, there are three requirements:
1. You will be available for a one-day, structured, onsite location shoot.
2. You will be responsible for the $22,900 pre-production fee.
3. You can adhere to the timeline for the project.
In the next few days I will be reviewing your story, as well as the collateral materials you agreed to overnight to me. Be sure to send those out immediately. Mail them to my attention at: The Journal, 10 Fairway Drive, Suite 150, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.
To see video examples of our series online follow this LINK.
You can click on industry specific content, located on the right side of the video player. This will stream samples of full length features in all 3 categories – Public Television segments, Corporate Documentaries and Educational Commercials.
To view the password protected section of our site, and to print out the details of this program, please follow these instructions:
Go to this LINK. At the bottom of the home page, under Joan Lunden's photo, click on the word INVITE and a new page will open. You'll need to enter a user name and password, both using only lower case letters.
User = guest
Password = invitation
Once inside, you'll find Special Feature Invitation in the upper left hand corner which is a fully interactive, magazine style invitation to guide you through the entire production process, including our timeline.
Also, there is a one page document – the Project at a Glance – which is a comprehensive overview of how your organization can benefit from this project should I choose you as a participant for the series.
You will also find the Project Research Questionnaire at the bottom left hand side of the page.
I will be contacting you on the date and time we agreed upon, or earlier, to schedule the program.
(561) 353-9070, EXT 134
The Journal, LLC, 10 Fairway Drive, Suite 150, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
Email our Production Administrator HERE, Studio Fax: (772) 673-5802