NEW YORK – Red faced cable news executives were back-peddling yesterday after Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall turned a string of live interviews into a commercial for a Nikon digital camera.
Cattrall, who plays slutty PR exec Samantha Jones on the hit HBO comedy, is arguably one of the hottest stars of the summer.
But yesterday she clutched a digital camera in her hands for the duration of interviews on MSNBC, Fox News Channel and nearly 25 other local news programs across the country.
It represented a new twist in the ever-more-devious marketing wars — where celebrities are used to plug products outside traditional commercial time.
So far, the practice has not gone much beyond athletes or celebs wearing baseballs caps with a product logo during interviews.
But this may be the first time product placement was used so blatantly in the midst of news programming.
"Ms. Cattrall was booked for the obvious reason to talk about her role on Sex and the City, " an MSNBC spokesman told The Post.
"It was an oversight on our part not realizing she was also there to endorse a product. But once it became obvious it was turning into a commercial endorsement for Nikon, we ended the interview," he said. "This is not our standard practice and it will not happen again."
"This was planned in advance as part of a satellite media tour that we started organizing several weeks ago for one of our new cameras," Nikon spokeswoman Anna Marie Bakker said.
All the news channels and programs were aware that Cattrall was there to talk about the camera and a related contest, she said.
"The intention was her to talk about the product," she said.
Officials at Fox News Channel were not available yesterday.
"The big Target logos on Survivor crates were the first weapon fired and now Kim Cattrall has brought us to the nuclear level," said Syracuse University's Prof. Robert Thompson, founder of the school's Center for the Study of Popular Television.