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INFOMERCIALS COME OF AGE WITH FIRST-EVER 'SITCOMMERCIAL'; BELL ATLANTIC PREMIERES 'THE RINGERS,' AN INFOMERCIAL SITUATION COMEDY, IN BALTIMORE

INFOMERCIALS COME OF AGE WITH FIRST-EVER 'SITCOMMERCIAL'; BELL ATLANTIC PREMIERES 'THE RINGERS,' AN INFOMERCIAL SITUATION COMEDY, IN BALTIMORE
 BALTIMORE, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Billed as "America's funniest, phone-iest family," "The Ringers," television's first infomercial comedy, will hit the airwaves in Baltimore Sunday, Nov. 8, and run through the 18th on WJZ-TV (ABC), WBAL-TV (CBS), WBFF-TV (FOX) and WNUV-TV (IND).
 Created by Bell Atlantic for its C&P Telephone Company of Maryland subsidiary, "The Ringers" promises to usher in the "Golden Age of Infomercials."
 Written, produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning veteran Sam Denoff ("The Dick Van Dyke Show") and his partner, Marc Sheffler ("Charles in Charge"), "The Ringers" is a '90s half-hour family comedy in which life revolves around the telephone.
 "Producing 'The Ringers'," according to Denoff, "was like putting together a big time TV pilot." The sitcommercial was videotaped at CBS-TV's Television City, in Hollywood.
 Boasts Sheffler: "'The Ringers' looks as good as anything on the networks."
 The sitcommercials's lead characters are: "Ralph Ringer," a self- employed plumber, his wife, "Rhonda," who runs a daycare center in their home; their teenage daughter, "Rachel"; and whiz kid younger son, "Ronnie." And then there's "Norman," Rhonda's freeloader brother. Professional actors were cast in all the parts, headed by Tim Haldeman as "Ralph," and Diane Robin as "Rhonda." Ms. Robin is in the Baltimore area through Friday, Nov. 6.
 Set in fictional Hankston, USA, "The Ringers" live in a traditional home "filled with humor, love and a phone in every room," according to Ms. Robin.
 During the sitcommercial, "The Ringers" share the spotlight with the various high-tech telephone services C&P Telephone offers its Baltimore- area customers. Such convenient and versatile Bell Atlantic(R) IQ(R) services as Caller ID, Three-Way Calling and Ultra Forward(R) service are given the star treatment.
 At regular intervals, "Ralph" looks into the camera and gives a toll-free 800 number of the telephone service featured in the previous segment.
 Viewers taking up his suggestion will be justly rewarded. If they place their orders between Nov. 8 and 18, when "The Ringers" is broadcast in Baltimore, they will not be charged an installation fee.
 "'The Ringers' sitcommercial gives us a fabulous format for reaching our customers," said Richard A. Alston, vice president-marketing, Bell Atlantic Network Services. "It allows C&P to effectively demonstrate our telephone services and show how they can help people manage their lives better."
 "I'm confident we have a winner here," said Rob Moorman, senior vice president, account management, Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor. "Most infomercials tend to be repetitious. 'The Ringers' combines comedy with two major elements -- the telephone and the American family. It's a perfect marriage."
 Bell Atlantic Corporation, based in Philadelphia, is the parent company of New Jersey Bell, Bell of Pennsylvania, Diamond State Telephone (Delaware) and the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
 Bell Atlantic also is the parent of one of the nation's largest cellular carriers, and of companies that provide business system services for customer-based information technology, including software, systems integration, hardware and software service and support, and financial services, throughout the United States and internationally.
 In addition, Bell Atlantic International offers network services and consulting to telephone authorities throughout the world and, in conjunction with Ameritech, owns a majority interest in the Telecom Corporation of New Zealand.
 -0- 11/5/92
 /CONTACT: Sandra Granzow of Bell Atlantic, 703-974-3615, or Susan Wolfson, 212-326-9800, or Barry D. Miller (in Baltimore), 410-727-7101, ext. 607, both of Stawasz Public Relations, for Bell Atlantic/ CO: Bell Atlantic Corporation ST: Maryland IN: TLS SU: PDT


CK-OS -- NY061 -- 3089 11/05/92 12:12 EST
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Date:Nov 5, 1992
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