PR giant Fleishman-Hillard Inc. has announced a global entertainment practice based in its new Hollywood offices. David Stamper, general manager of the local bureau, will co-chair the practice along with Michelle Mikoljak Stevenson, vice president of Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles.

"This new practice will guide companies as they weigh their options for strategically using entertainment to create an emotional connection with their audiences," said Dave Senay, chief executive at the St. Louis-based agency. The practice will concentrate on brand integration, celebrity spokespeople and red carpet events.

The agency moved from downtown L.A. to Hollywood as part of a strategic makeover. Just five years ago, a major part of the L.A. office's income came from political and public policy consulting. But in 2003, three Fleishman-Hillard executives were charged with overbilling city agencies, leading to multimillion-dollar settlements and a search for a new business model.

With new personnel and the office in Hollywood, the transformation appears complete. The new location represents "the epicenter of the world's perception of the entertainment industry, so it's a fitting base from which to coordinate this new offering," Stamper said.

The practice will bring together PR pros from 11 U.S. offices and nine international locations, particularly China. Also, as a unit of the holding company Omnicom Group Inc., Fleishman can access talent at advertising agencies such as TBWA\Chiat\Day and BBDO Worldwide.

Blogging It Out

Two local news channels are reaching out to bloggers.

KCBS-TV (Channel 2) and KCAL-TV (Channel 9), both CBS Corp. affiliates, will provide bloggers with "widgets" computer code that perform simple operations on a Web page. In this case, the widgets open a box to alert blog readers about breaking news stories. The box will display headlines and an ad.

Blog publishers choose one of six topical news feeds based on a blog's content. To access full stories, visitors can link back to the TV stations' news sites.

Bloggers participating in the program receive a portion of the advertising revenue generated by the stations, which will handle the selling of ad space within the widgets.

The so-called CBS 2 and KCAL 9 Los Angeles Network already has landed AT & T; Inc. as a major advertiser for two local sites, labuzzblog.com and USC sports fan site trojanwire.com.

CBS has launched these local TV-Web networks in 13 markets across the country.

Sparkling Stone

Italian jewelry house Damiani has signed Hollywood glam dame Sharon Stone for a new ad blitz. Silvia Damiani announced the deal at the company's boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

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