Reality TV Meets Small Businesses Later This Month

While many Americans continue to feast on the likes of American Idol, The Bachelor, Fear Factor and the other new "reality" television shows, one show will try to make its way by following the challenges of a small business owner as he tries to accomplish his dream of running a family restaurant.

The Restaurant is a six-episode series, debuting July 20, that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life and struggles of real life chef Rocco DiSpirito as he creates, launches and operates his own Manhattan eatery.

In a clever integration of reality meeting reality TV, the series is being sponsored in large part by American Express' small business division. As a sponsor, OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express will launch an integrated marketing campaign that includes television and radio advertising featuring Rocco DiSpirito and a Web site (www.openrocco.com) where he will chronicle his experiences as a business owner and engage in a dialogue with other business owners. In addition, Rocco DiSpirito will be shown during the series using the products, tools and services provided by the OPEN Network as he manages his business.

"Running a small business is the ultimate reality show, and many of the issues that Rocco DiSpirito faces in starting up his restaurant are similar to the daily challenges that many business owners and their employees face," said Kerry Hatch, executive vice president and General manager of OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express.

American Express is hoping to engage small business owners in a dialogue about the ups and downs of running a business, and hopes to highlight the tools it has available to small business owners through both the television series as well as integrated advertising campaigns for American Express featuring Rocco DiSpirito himself.

Editor's Note: Mark your calendars for July 20 and check out "The Restaurant". The worst that could happen is you miss another exciting episode of Meet-My-Parents-At-Paradise-Hotel-While-They-Check-Out-The-Bachelorette-As-She-Sings-Her-Way-To-Fame-While-Going-For-The-Million-Dollars-By-Being-Locked-In-The-Neighbors-House-With-Other-Supermodels-As-They-Plot-To-Give-The-Bathroom-A-Complete-Makeover. Oh, wait, I think that one's a re-run.

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