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AOL to produce first online reality show

AOL is teaming up with 'Survivor' creator Mark Burnett to make the first reality show exclusively for the web.

The series, called 'Gold Rush', will follow contestants searching for hidden treasure across the US. They will have to look for clues throughout the AOL network, which includes websites AOL, AIM, Moviefone and Mapquest.

The clues and the show itself will be promoted on TV, radio and print.

Burnett, the brainchild behind many of the US's leading reality shows including 'The Apprentice' and 'The Contender', came up with 'Gold Rush' after realising how many reality show fans communicate online, with demand for reality programming far extending the traditional TV offer of one a week.

Burnett said: "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 9am to 5pm, it could very well become the new primetime."

Jon Miller, chairman and chief executive of AOL, said 'Gold Rush' "defines engagement, it's disruptive by nature and it will clearly be habit forming -- all the best of the Internet in one fell swoop."

Internet retailer Amazon is joining the trend for brands to create their own content with a series of 30-minute programmes hosted by US political humorist and author Bill Maher.

'Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher' will include live performances by musicians and interviews with authors, directors and actors. 'In Her Shoes' actress Toni Collette and horror novelist Stephen King are among the stars already signed up to appear on the show.

Allied Domecq is another company that has created programming led by its own brands, with a television series called 'The Club' that appeared on Spike TV in late 2004.

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