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Bureau points to 'OC' on map

February 12, 2005

Andrew Edwards

A new promotion designed to lure business travelers and vacationers

to Newport Beach is based on hopes that visitors want to go to the

same places where Seth Cohen hangs out.

Cohen, for those whose television dials avoid the Fox Network, is

one of the main characters on "The OC," Fox's prime-time soap opera

set in Newport Beach. The Newport Beach Conference and Visitors

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Bureau has produced a map that pinpoints local attractions seen in

the show.

The bureau's communications director, Gail Ossipoff, said she

decided to draw it up after answering phone calls from fans trying to

find directions to locations used on the show.

"They want to propose there ... they want to get they're picture

taken," Ossipoff said.

The map points out where Cohen lives, but fans of the show won't

be able to go there. "The OC's" Cohen family lives in a gated

community at Pelican Hill. Accessible locales highlighted on the map

include the Back Bay, which is called Balboa Bluffs on the program,

and Newport Harbor High School is known as Harbor High on television.

Ossipoff did not ask anyone's permission before making the map.

"If they get mad or angry that they're affiliated with 'The OC,'

they can call me," she said with a laugh.

The bureau tied the show to its marketing efforts for the city in

October, when the program's cast visited Newport to be inducted as

the inaugural members of the city's Walk of Fame. Some Newport

residents criticized the honor, because they believe the program's

plotlines, which include drug use, promiscuity and other staples of

network television, do not reflect the true character of Newport

Beach.

Ossipoff believes fans don't watch the show because they think

it's realistic.

"It's campy; it's like 'Desperate Housewives,'" Ossipoff said.

The Crab Cooker, dubbed the Seafood Shack on television, is one of

the restaurants pinpointed on the map. Owner Bob Roubian said he was

proud to be associated with "The OC" on the new map.

"I think it's fine," he said. "You got something going where

people get some information. That's what it is."

The show presents some themes that Newport Beach, as a city, would

not want to promote, Councilman Steve Rosansky said, but he has no

objection if the map encourages tourists to dine at The Arches,

another restaurant on the map.

"We shouldn't take ourselves too seriously," he said.

The conference and visitors bureau will distribute the map to

media outlets and businesses planning meetings in the area. The

bureau is also hoping teenagers will convince their parents to steer

family vacations to Newport Beach.

"They want to go to the Fun Zone, because they saw Ryan and

Marissa kiss on the Ferris wheel," bureau Executive Director Marta

Hayden said.

* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be

reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at andrew.edwards@latimes.com.

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