(April 9, 2003 – Burbank, CA) – The WB Network and Pepsi-Cola North America today announced a partnership for two major summer programming initiatives that will include the development of “PLAY FOR A BILLION,” a live television special in which a contestant will have the chance to win $1 billion and “PEPSI SMASH,” a six-week series that will feature performances by today’s top musical acts. “PLAY FOR A BILLION,” which will be produced by Michael Davies (“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”) guarantees a $1 million winner who will then have the chance to play for $1 billion. There is a one in 1000 chance that the $1 billion will be awarded. The show, set to air in September, will be the culmination of Pepsi’s summer promotion, “Pepsi Play for a Billion,” which hits stores May 1. Here’s how to play: • Beginning in May on specially marked Pepsi products, check for a sweepstakes entry code or $15 instant win notification under the caps of 20-ounce and 2-liter products, on 12- and 24-packs, or on stickers on select fountain cups. • If you find a sweepstakes entry code, enter the code on the secure web site (www.billionsweeps.com) or mail it to the address on the package. • In the sweepstakes, one thousand consumers will be randomly selected throughout the summer and offered a trip to appear on the live television broadcast. The 1,000 contestants on the show will play a game of chance and guts to determine the $1 million prizewinner. The $1 million winner will then play for $1 billion without forfeiting the $1 million prize. If won, the $1 billion prize will be awarded in the form of a 40-year annuity with a balloon payment in the final year, or the contestant may instead elect to receive a lump sum payment representing the present value of the annuity. Pepsi has taken out an insurance policy with an insurance subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway in the event that someone wins the billion-dollar prize. “The WB couldn’t be prouder to partner with Pepsi, whose brand is synonymous around the world for high quality, style and everything young,“ said Jed Petrick, President and Chief Operating Officer of The WB. “Our brands are a perfect fit with a history of defining pop culture and this live broadcast will energize the launch of The WB’s fall season. We’re equally thrilled to be working with Michael Davies, who knows how to produce event television and create buzz all over the country.” “It’s a tremendous thrill to think that we could be part of the largest cash giveaway in game show history – this will be edge-of-your seat TV, giving one-thousand Pepsi consumers the chance to win $1 billion,” said Dave Burwick, SVP and chief marketing officer for Pepsi-Cola North America. “Plus, it’s great to be working with the AOL Time Warner family – and most closely with The WB – as strategic partners. Their viewers are youthful, just like our consumers, which allows us plenty of opportunities to make this program a success.” In a joint statement by Diplomatic, Executive Producers Michael Davies and Matti Leshem said, “We are thrilled to partner with Pepsi and The WB on what is bound to be a significant television event. The idea captured our imagination as soon as we heard it, as we are sure it will the American public.” Another part of The WB/Pepsi relationship, a new prime time show titled “PEPSI SMASH” will begin a six-week run on The WB in July. “SMASH” is a one-hour show featuring live musical performances from some of the biggest music artists across all genres in front of a live audience. As many as five groups or artists will perform on each show, and viewers will have the opportunity to see up close and personal segments with artists backstage as well as behind-the-scenes footage of artists in the U.S. and around the world. Produced by Joel Gallen (“America: A Tribute to Heroes,” “MTV Video Music Awards,” “VH-1 Fashion Awards”) of Tenth Planet Productions, the show also will feature a chart rundown and music news. The WB is America’s fifth broadcast network and is currently the fastest-growing network this season among total viewers an in the 18-34 and 18-49 demographics. Paced by ground-breaking shows such as “SMALLVILLE,” “7TH HEAVEN,” “GILMORE GIRLS,” “EVERWOOD,” “DAWSON’S CREEK,” “JKX: THE JAMIE KENNEDY EXPERIMENT,” “REBA,” “WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU,” “ANGEL” and “CHARMED,” The WB is a pop culture phenomenon and has launched the careers of dozens of young stars who make up the faces of new Hollywood including James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams, Kristin Kreuk, Tom Welling, Alexis Bledel and Gregory Smith. Pepsi-Cola North America (www.pepsi.com), headquartered in Purchase, N.Y., is the $4 billion refreshment beverage unit of PepsiCo, Inc. (www.pepsico.com) in the United States and Canada. Its U.S. brands include Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Twist, Pepsi ONE, Pepsi Blue, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Code Red, Mug, Sierra Mist, Slice, Aquafina, SoBe, Dole single-serve juices and FruitWorks. The company also makes and markets North America’s #1 ready-to-drink iced teas and coffees, respectively, via joint ventures with Lipton and Starbucks.
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