First run TV series on the Web
NBC, has announced plans to offer an interactive reality TV series exclusively on its Web site. Entitled "StarTomorrow," the participation-TV show will invite viewers to select a band or singing group to receive a recording contract with legendary music producer, Tommy Mattola. Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal cable entertainment stated that the program is an important project for the company. “This is the first time NBC will be distributing a network-quality program exclusively online." The show is scheduled to debut this summer on NBC.com.
In another announcement, AOL is teaming up with Mark Burnett to develop a reality TV treasure-hunt show that will air exclusively on AOL's Web site. Entitled "Gold Rush!," the show will track what AOL describes as "real-life challengers" as they search for hidden treasure across the US. Burnett feels that his partner AOL clearly wants a lot more content than can be enjoyed during one hour of television per week. He states that “the world is changing and the Internet is about to become the next broadcast network. With the volume of people able to watch content on their computers between 9:00AM to 5:00PM, it could very well become the new primetime.”
Not to be out done, rival Internet portal, Yahoo!, is currently developing a Web-based scavenger hunt show, called "Treasure Hunt," and there have been mutterings that Mark Burnett, who has also been working with Yahoo! on a Web-based reality show called "The Runner," took the idea for "Gold Rush" from "Treasure Hunt." Burnett of course denies the accusation.
I’m sure that we will be seeing a lot more exclusive Web programming deals in the very near future.