Verizon Wireless Provides Text Messaging for Showtime Reality Series
August 2004 -

NEW YORK, Aug. 9 -- What if you could get up-close and personal with the nation's next president? How about text messaging a presidential candidate or critiquing their debate techniques using your wireless phone? You can if you tune in to AMERICAN CANDIDATE this Sunday, August 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The new SHOWTIME reality series from Emmy(R)- winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler, gives average citizens the chance to prove they've got what it takes to be the next leader of the free world.

To help keep the candidates connected to their public, Showtime Networks and the show's producers are working with Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless carrier, to offer popular wireless capabilities. As a result, viewers are able to participate in wireless text messaging chats with candidates, respond to on-air polls that will be answered in real-time, submit debate questions, and ultimately "elect" the winner of American Candidate, using their wireless handsets and national toll-free voting lines. The show, which debuted August 1, 2004, has already conducted two successful chats and viewers must tune in each week to see which candidate will be left standing and thus available to chat with them following the show.

Voting will be open to all viewers, via toll-free numbers and TXT messaging, immediately following "The Great Debate" episode. Polling, chats and voting are open to subscribers of any wireless carrier.

The series follows the 10 contestants week-by-week as they campaign across the United States, facing off against each other, engaging in debates, holding political rallies and being scrutinized by the press -- making wireless technology crucial to keeping the candidates and the production crew in constant contact. Verizon was instrumental in providing wireless equipment for the crew and the candidates' campaign "war rooms" in each of the cities they visited.

"This show was a mobile production," stated American Candidate Creator and Executive Producer R.J. Cutler. "We set up campaign headquarters in seven different cities and also visited each of the candidates' home towns. We're also relying on continuous participation and feedback from the audience, so Verizon's involvement is critical."

"We felt that Verizon Wireless was best able to handle the scope of this unique project," said Robert Greenblatt, Showtime President of Entertainment. To sign up to receive wireless text messages from American Candidate, text the message "AC" to SHOTV (74688), or visit and register. The Short Messaging Services (SMS) that make the text messaging and chats possible are powered by GoldPocket's EM Connect. Verizon Wireless customers will need a TXT messaging-enabled phone to send and receive messages and standard TXT messaging charges will apply.

The weekly, one-hour program is executive produced by Cutler, Jay Roach and Tom Lassally and is hosted by Emmy(R)-winning talk show host Montel Williams. The candidates include Keith Boykin, Bruce Friedrich, Chrissy Gephardt, Park Gillespie, Malia Lazu, Richard Mack, Joyce Riley, Jim Strock, Bob Vanech and Lisa Witter. Log on to for more information on the "American Candidates" and to participate in the show.

Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto

GoldPocket, the leading provider of advanced media technologies, develops and sells products and services that create, manage, and deliver digital and interactive media. The Company specializes in high performance advanced media systems used in digital television, PC/TV convergence systems, and wireless networks. The Company's customers include most of the world's largest media and distribution companies including Time Warner, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, DirecTV, and many television networks including CBS, Fox, NBC, GSN, A&E, History Channel, Spike TV, The WB, Speed Channel, PBS, AMC, TBS Superstation, CNN, Bravo, Fuse, and Lifetime.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(R), SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM). SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL(R), which is owned by SNI, Robert Redford and Universal Studios. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME(R) PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME EXTREME(R) is available in Spain through a joint venture with Media Park and the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.


Leisure Publications