RealTime IT News

CBS, ENDEMOL Entertainment, AOL Partner for Webcast

CBS and ENDEMOL Entertainment, on Wednesday enlisted America Online Inc. for their new "Big Brother" reality television series -- a Real World-like game show program in which ten strangers living in a house will have their every move recorded by cameras.

The exclusive partnership with America Online calls for the online service to create a co-branded "Big Brother" interactive area, where viewers will be able to view 24-hour streaming video feeds of house activities and participate in chats and viewer polls. This will be available both on AOL's proprietary service, and on its Web site, although AOL subscribers will get more video feeds and live chats with cast members.

The deal also calls for CBS and AOL to cross-promote one another extensively. The TV network will promote the co-branded site on every episode of the show, and AOL will promote the series on the AOL service and AOL.com

"This is an exciting agreement on so many levels," said Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Entertainment.

"It utilizes the resources and marketing expertise of CBS, AOL and ENDEMOL -- three of the most successful media companies in the world. And it positions Big Brother to be one of the most ambitious convergences of television and the Internet seen to date on American television."

The Big Brother television series, which debuts on July 6, will put 10 strangers in a house on a tight budget. Every week, the house residents will nominate two their housemates to be expelled, and the audience will vote on which one is actually removed from the house. The last contestant left in the house will win $500,000.

The program originated in the Netherlands and is currently airing in Germany and Spain. It has been a huge hit so far, and the US version teams the original producers -- ENDEMOL -- with CBS.