- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Fox shows on MySpace

Good news for those who disdain televised sporting events and their interruption of regular programming: Fox Broadcasting will stream reruns of some of its TV shows over the Internet during baseball playoff season in hope of keeping viewers hooked.

But unlike other networks that show advertising-supported episodes on their own Web sites, Fox will offer its shows on the social networking site MySpace.com — a corporate sibling in the News Corp. media conglomerate — and the Web sites of local affiliate stations.

The move is an attempt to keep ratings momentum going in October and November, when many Fox prime-time shows are pre-empted by Major League Baseball playoff games and the World Series, Associated Press reports.

“The decision was to try and reach the largest audience possible, and with 55 million unique visitors, it’s hard to beat MySpace,” Mickie Rosen, senior vice president of entertainment at Fox Interactive Media, said Tuesday.

The episodes will air for free with advertising aired throughout each show, although there will be fewer commercial interruptions than on TV.

The offerings will include some shows produced and owned by Fox, including “Bones,” “Prison Break” and “Standoff.” The network has also cut a deal with Sony television, a division of Sony Corp., and Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner Inc., to air episodes of “‘Till Death” and “Justice” but only during the playoffs.

Missing from the lineup will be Fox’s most popular shows, including “House,” which is produced by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, and “The Simpsons.” The move highlights the strategy being developed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which owns both Fox and MySpace. Fox has previously offered free and for-sale downloads of the series “24” on MySpace.

Customized cartoons

Cable’s Nickelodeon network is giving its young viewers the chance to create cartoons, instead of just watching them.

According to AP, Nick has just made available on its Web site technology that allows young fans to make cartoon mashups of different scenes from such favorites as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Avatar” and distribute them to their friends. The technology is a nod to such Web favorites as Youtube.com and a recognition that many young Nickelodeon viewers have a knowledge of computers that surpasses that of their parents.

“It’s a natural and very organic evolution of where we’ve been over the last 26 years,” said Cyma Zarghami, Nick president and head of MTVN Kids and Family Group. “We’ve always followed the audience where it is going.”

On its TurboNick Web site, the network provides several scenes from its shows, including nonanimated fare like “Drake & Josh,” along with graphics, transitions and sounds for them to point and click their way to an entirely new creation. Participants still aren’t able to put their own soundtracks to what they make.

Since Sept. 20, when the mashup technology was introduced, the TurboNick Web site has averaged 236,000 unique visitors a day, compared to 40,000 during the same period last year. The network also used the Web to heavily promote a new cartoon, “Mr. Meaty,” and offered clips online this summer in advance of its Sept. 22 premiere.

Trump for tots

He was a real estate mogul, then a reality TV star.

Now Donald Trump may be making a name for himself in the wig business as well.

A new Web site, babytoupees.com, is selling hairpieces (priced at $24.99) fashioned in the manner of the Donald’s much talked about coif for infants 9 months and younger.

No, we aren’t making this up.

The site, which advises potential buyers to “get wiggy with it,” also offers baby wigs patterned after styles worn by other celebrities — and modeled by infants — including rap artist Lil’ Kim, “Snakes on a Plane” star Samuel L. Jackson, and the late reggae master Bob Marley.

“The company’s goal is to bring creative and fun products to market that make parenting a little more fun, all while bringing a smile to the face of the children,” reads a statement on the Web site by the firm’s owners, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Baby Toupee and SmallHuman LLC.

“Life is too short to take seriously … have fun with your baby.”

Mr. Maher comes to town

HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” visits the District for tonight’s show airing at 11.

Round-table guests include national security expert Richard A. Clarke; commentator Chris Matthews; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican; and award-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams. Interview guests include Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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