March 24, 2014: The Big Business of Kids' Award Shows, How One College Convinced Obama to Speak at Graduation, Lady Gaga’s Bizarre Choice for Music Video Premiere

By Beth Kormanik March 24, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT

1. THE BIG BUSINESS OF KIDS' AWARD SHOWS: Disney and Nickelodeon are doubling down on kids' award shows, betting that the live events will draw in the ratings as well as brands such as Embassy Suites and Geico that want to reach families. The New York Times: “Like the big broadcast networks, cable outlets want live programming that creates lots of social media buzz and attracts marquee advertisers.”

2. HOW ONE COLLEGE CONVINCED OBAMA TO SPEAK AT GRADUATION: President Obama typically only speaks at three college graduations a year, so competition is fierce for the slots. So the University of California at Irvine planned a marketing effort to convince the president to come to campus. And it worked. The Los Angeles Times: “UC Irvine administrators sent an invitation to the White House last spring and then began asking alumni and students for help recruiting the president by signing postcards and participating in videos. In one, 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye looks directly into the camera while towering over a cardboard cutout of Obama and says: ‘Mr. President, we should play ball together.’”

3. LADY GAGA’S BIZARRE CHOICE FOR MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE: NBC’s Dateline aired the premiere of Lady Gaga’s music video for “G.U.Y.” on Saturday. The venue where the video was filmed also was notable. The Hollywood Reporter: “Ever since Hearst Cooperation granted the castle to the state of California in 1957, the Deed of Gift mandate prohibits commercial shooting on the estate. In exchange for filming at the landmark, Gaga and her parents are donating $250,000 to promote and preserve Hearst Castle. Gaga has also agreed to record a public service announcement for the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation and a short feature on the castle to educate her fans about the importance of water conservation. In addition, she will pay the Castle's standard $22,100 special event fee and reimburse the state for all costs in the production.”


BOSTON:  A boutique hotel called the Verb is taking over the former Howard Johnson Inn in Fenway. The venue will have 94 rooms, along with a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar. Boston Herald:

CHICAGO:  About Face Theatre will host its Wonka Ball at Macy's on State Street on May 9. This year's event is called “the Gayme Show,” and it will offer game-show-inspired challenges, live entertainment, live and silent auctions, and signature cocktails.

LAS VEGAS:  Life Time Athletic Summerlin will host the Life Time Indoor Tri May 4. Performance will be measured by distance, not time, and will include a 10-minute swim in the lap pool, a 30-minute ride on the indoor cycle, and a 20-minute run on the treadmill. The event runs all day, with groups of 10 starting the triathlon every 20 minutes.

LOS ANGELES:  President Obama is scheduled to speak at the USC Shoah Foundation's 20th anniversary Ambassadors for Humanity Gala May 7.

H&M Loves Music announced its plans for Coachella: Following the festival April 12, it will host a nighttime dance party with a to-be-announced performer.

More than 500 guests attended the second annual Rebels With a Cause gala at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood, raising more than $9 million to benefit the USC Westside Cancer Center and the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Marie Claire and Italian designer handbag V73 are the presenting partners for the Women’s Fund Miami-Dade's 2014 Power of the Purse Luncheon May 14 at the Hilton Miami Downtown.

NEW YORK:  Citi will serve as the New York City sponsor of the American Heart Association's “My Heart. My Life. campaign” and as presenting sponsor for the 2014 Wall Street Run & Heart Walk on June 18.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

SAN FRANCISCO:  On May 30, the Greater Bay Area chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will host its Hope Gala at the Ritz-Carlton.

TORONTO:  A 100,000-square-foot water park and event complex is scheduled to open in the Toronto area by fall of 2016. InterPark:

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Chef Jeff Tunks and Passion Food Hospitality plan to open Penn Commons, a sister restaurant to District Commons, this summer. The tavern, located next to the Verizon Center, will be designed by Gensler.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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