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Correction to This Article
The Oct. 26 TV Column, reporting that Comedy Central's upcoming rally on the Mall in Washington would teach politicos how to restore sanity to the city "while simultaneously poking fun at the rally staged at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in August starring the brightest star in the Fox News Channel firmament, Glenn Beck," was changed in editing to say "Fox News Channel staged a rally at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial starring the brightest star in the Fox News Channel firmament, Glenn Beck." Fox News Channel did not stage that rally.
Zombies at the Lincoln Memorial!? Where are the brains?

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, October 26, 2010; C05

How did the Lincoln Memorial become the epicenter of wacko TV network marketing stunts?

In August, Fox News Channel staged a rally at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial starring the brightest star in the Fox News Channel firmament, Glenn Beck. This weekend, Comedy Central will stage a rally to "restore sanity" and poke fun at FNC's rally. And Tuesday morning, AMC will dispatch a gang of zombies to "invade" the Lincoln Memorial.

If your Tuesday morning commute takes you in the vicinity of the memorial around 7:30 a.m., prepare to be jostled by some reanimated corpses, photographers and camera crews.

The Lincoln Memorial is just one cog in the Great Zombie Invasion Wheel that the basic cable network has scheduled for Tuesday as part of a worldwide campaign to promote the Halloween-night debut of its new zombie series, "The Walking Dead."

The network has also ordered up undead gatherings at tourist attractions in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, Munich, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, etc.

The National Park Service says it has no permit filed for zombie activity at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday morning by AMC suits, a posse of zombies or anyone else, WaPo Team TV's Mall bureau chief David Montgomery reported.

If the zombies are planning a "demonstration," they would need a permit for a group of undead that numbers 26 or more. A group of 25 or fewer zombies would not need a permit for a "demonstration," Terry Adams, public affairs officer of the National Park Service, told Montgomery.

If the zombies' visit is a "special event" instead of a "demonstration," they would need a permit, no matter how small the group, Adam added.

A "demonstration" is a First Amendment-protected activity -- political speech, issue advocacy and so forth. A march to end war, for example.

A "special event" is everything else -- cultural gatherings, fundraisers, sports. Think the Marine Corps Marathon or a walk to find a cure for the common cold.

Montgomery's amicus brief: A zombie field trip to promote a TV show sorta smells like a special event, in which case the zombies probably should have sought a permit. But the zombies may contend they are engaging in free speech -- and who's to quarrel with a zombie, Montgomery noted. We take his point.

When folks, or walking corpses, do show up on the Mall or near Abe Lincoln doing something that looks as though it could possibly use a permit, U.S. Park Police officers will sometimes "try to intervene, and say, 'You need a permit for this,' " Adams said.

And, if you're reading this, zombies, consider yourselves warned: No demonstration or special event activity is permitted inside the chamber of the Lincoln Memorial, around the columns or on the upper white marble steps.

But, the zombies taking their field trip to Washington have so much more in store than just the visit to the Lincoln Memorial! One of AMC's official zombie-wranglers told WaPo Team TV's Emily Yahr that, after exploring the tribute to our country's 16th president, the zombies will board a bus and head to Georgetown to dine on the president of the United States. If you encounter them at the memorial, don't spoil their fun and tell them that the motorcade they will be chasing in Georgetown will contain only a Pretend POTUS.

After snacking on Pretend POTUS in Georgetown, details of the zombies' visit get a little murky. We think they are going to split up, and some will head to Chinatown while others will make a beeline for Farragut North. After that, they may reunite at the end of the day, at the Washington Monument back on the Mall.

How the Other Half lives

WaPo Team TV's Emily Yahr is going to change her name to David Caruso in hopes that we can get the "CSI: Miami" star to come work with us as part of CBS's new reality series, "The Same Name."

The trade papers are billing it as a "The Prince and the Pauper"-meets-reality TV. Celebrities such as Caruso would step out of their lush lives and trade places with an average Joe who also happens to share the celebrity's name.

This is exactly what Samuel Clemens had in mind when he wrote his tale of two British boys who looked alike -- one the son of Henry VIII, the other a pauper -- who switch places and learn how the Other Half lives.

We don't yet know what celebrities have agreed to play along for the first few episodes of this new show. But "The Same Name" is very similar to CBS's successful reality-TV special called "I Get That a Lot," in which celebrities pretend to be non-celebrities and perform everyday jobs so cameras can record the look of astonishment on people's faces when they think they recognize the star, only the star denies who they are and instead says, "I get that a lot." Jessica Simpson worked in a computer store, Julie Chen actually served frozen yogurt, Paris Hilton even pumped gas for that show. In the new show, Paris would replace another person named Paris Hilton who actually does pump gas for a living. Get it?

CBS has turned Identity Theft into a new reality-TV genre, having also enjoyed enormous ratings success with its "Undercover Boss." In each episode of this hit series, the CEO of some company goes undercover to mingle with his minions and -- usually after the second ad break -- discovers which slob of a middle manager it is who is mangling His Vision and making life a living hell for his workers. After the third ad break, the undercover boss gives that middle manager the dressing-down he or she so richly deserves, cash is dispensed in the direction of some of the workers right before the final commercial break -- and They All Live Happily Ever After.

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