- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

The search is on

Wanna be a star?

Yahoo is conducting a nationwide search for Americans with talent, minus the expert assistance of Regis Philbin or David Hasselhoff (of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”).

Instead, the Web giant is hoping to find talent gold among the millions of Web users who are more and more willing to post videos of themselves on the Internet. Yesterday, the company kicked off Yahoo Talent Show, an eight-week online contest during which users can submit video clips of themselves at Talentshow.Yahoo.com showcasing whatever it is they are good at — with the chance at becoming permanent Yahoo fixtures.

According to MediaWeeek.com, Yahoo has tapped the production company Embassy Row to help foster Talent Show. That company is headed by producer Michael Davies, who has worked on ABC’s reality series “Wife Swap” and on Yahoo’s technology makeover series, “Hook Me Up.”

Already, the Web has shown that minor celebrities can emerge overnight with the right viral clip. Little wonder then that with its Yahoo Talent Show, the company expects to draw a wide range of performers, from stand-up comics to performance artists to filmmakers.

“The Internet is such fertile ground to discover fresh talent and unique personalities, and we are excited to give our users a chance to win their own show on Yahoo,” said David Katz, head of Yahoo Studios.

Users can submit entries through Nov. 27. But the real fun begins for viewers starting on Nov. 13, when they can log onto Yahoo to watch a daily selection of the best and most interesting clips, which users can also vote on. That best of show, which runs through Dec. 4, will be hosted by former E! and MTV face Mayleen Ramey.

Ultimately, five finalists will be selected to compete in a series of “creative video challenges,” says Yahoo. The winner gets $50,000 in cash, along with a deal to produce their own show on Yahoo.

Madonna visits Lady O

Tomorrow (4 p.m. WJLA-ABC7), Madonna will chat with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey about her decision to adopt a 13-month-old Malawian boy — the first television interview for the pop star since her adoption provoked international controversy.

The interview is scheduled to be taped today, a spokeswoman for Harpo Productions Inc. told Associated Press.

Madonna traveled to Malawi on Oct. 4 with her husband, director Guy Ritchie. Together, they spent eight days visiting orphanages she is funding through her charity, AP reports. The boy, named David Banda, was taken to London last week after Malawi’s High Court granted Madonna and her husband an interim adoption order.

The 48-year-old singer has said she acted according to the law, but the toddler’s father said Sunday he did not realize he was signing away custody of the boy “for good.”

Madonna, who rose to pop culture icon status in the 1980s, has two children — daughter Lourdes, 9, and son Rocco, 6.

More ‘Shark,’ ‘Game’

“Shark,” the freshman drama starring Oscar nominee James Woods as a self-confident defense attorney turned prosecutor, was given a full-season order, reports TVWeek.com.

The show is averaging 14.3 million viewers and has attracted adults in two key demographics — those 25 to 54 and others 18 to 49 — in its 10 p.m. Thursday time slot.

Last Thursday’s show, in fact, had season-high ratings in several categories including adults 18 to 34, women 18 to 34 and women 18 to 49, TVWeek.com reports.

Meanwhile, the fledgling CW has picked up the back nine episodes of its freshman comedy “The Game” and returning series “7th Heaven” for full seasons, network President Dawn Ostroff announced Friday.

“The Game,” based on the lives and relationships of women with loved ones in the NFL, retained 95 percent of its “Girlfriends” lead-in among women 18 to 34. The show is produced by Happy Camper Productions and Grammnet Productions in association with CBS Paramount Network Television.

“7th Heaven,” a family drama about a minister, his wife and their seven children, is currently in its 11th season and is produced by CBS Paramount Network Television in association with Spelling Television.

Runway’ a winner

Bravo’s “Project Runway” shattered its previous all-time ratings record with Wednesday’s third season finale, luring 5.4 million viewers to its 10 p.m. slot, reports MediaWeek.com.

The Heidi Klum-hosted reality show — which saw heavily tattooed California designer Jeffrey Sebelia win the season’s $100,000 cash prize (along with a fashion spread in Elle magazine) — beat out the season two “Runway” finale by 57 percent.

The one-hour finale, which beat out all other programs on cable Wednesday night, also gave a lift to the season two premiere of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” which bowed in the 11 p.m. time slot with 1.9 million total viewers — a 46 percent improvement over its first-season debut.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wirereports

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