A SERIOUS SENSE OF HUMOR

Laughs are not something associated with the public television program Washington Week in Review.
But a TV ad, from August, Lang & Husak to relaunch the show with new host Gwen Ifill, uses a fish tank to combat the program’s reputation for being too dry for its own good.
Emphasizing the campaign’s tag that the talk show, syndicated weekly on more than 300 PBS stations, is “The most interesting conversation of the week,” the spot shows a viewer held so rapt by journalists’ observations that he doesn’t notice a burglar breaking into his house.
The crook accidentally knocks his loot into an aquarium. While trying to fish it out, he is attacked by the resident’s pet octopus. The oblivious owner remains glued to the tube while the thief battles the sea creature.
“We wondered whether they’d go for it; it’s so different than anything they’d done,” said the Washington, D.C., shop’s principal, Mike August.
The spot, supported by national print and radio, will appear on CNN and PBS affiliates through April 2000.
–T.W. Sieber