HBO has the reputation of doing quality TV series that get national media attention. “The Sopranos” even sparked North Jersey bus tours of key locations in the popular series. That’s why Atlantic City should be thinking now of the marketing potential of “Boardwalk Empire” — the HBO adaptation of local historian and Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson’s book on Atlantic City’s colorful past, which is due to be aired this fall.

State Sen. James Whelan mentioned the series at the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week, saying the city needs to capitalize on any available buzz.

It sure does. And the city ought to create some buzz as well. Let’s hope the marketing wizards at  casinos, businesses and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority are thinking now about those kinds of promotional opportunities. This is a rare shot for the city to seize the national spotlight.

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But the city should be careful, as well, that any publicity doesn’t turn into a negative.

If the series is a success, if it gets anywhere near the kind of attention “The Sopranos” got, it could provide a peg for national media to again look at Atlantic City — particularly its corrupt and illicit history, which “Boardwalk Empire” details.

Trust that somewhere in those stories will be the city’s present. The more the city looks ready for prime time — the more vacant lots like Pinnacle’s are beautified, the cleaner the streets and Boardwalk are, the more good things are happening in town — the better the chances that Atlantic City could get a real boost from "Boardwalk Empire."

 To watch a neat video about "Boardwalk Empire," click" target= "_blank">here.



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