Yahoo! Creates Original Reality Show For Web

BOSTON -- Yahoo! has plans to launch a new reality show on the Internet, Scott Moore, vice president of content operations for the Yahoo! Media Group, revealed to media executives attending a broadband content summit here on Tuesday.

The program, "Wow House," will be an integral part of Yahoo!' Tech, the online media giant's technology content channel, which is set to launch by the first quarter of next year. Cnet's former editor in chief, Patrick Houston--hired by Yahoo! in May to serve as general manager for technology--will be in charge of the show, Moore said at the conference, which was arranged and hosted by MPG's Media Contacts.

Similar to home makeover television shows, "Wow House" follows two families as they renovate and upgrade their home electronics. Each household is given $10,000 with which to purchase new theater systems and the like, but only one family can keep the new equipment. Viewers will vote on which home gets to retain the merchandise.

Yahoo!'s Moore estimated the pilot cost $100,000 to produce, a fraction of the cost of a scripted TV show like "Lost." Although Moore didn't discuss product placement or other marketing plans for the show, the format of "Wow House" appears to offer technology companies plenty of opportunities for product placement and integration.

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"Wow House" will join Yahoo!'s portfolio of original video content, including "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone," which launched in September and features war correspondent Sites as he travels to various centers of conflict around the globe, and travel show "Richard Bangs' Adventures."

The three initiatives are a product of Yahoo!'s Media Group, led by TV industry veteran Lloyd Braun, the former head of ABC Entertainment Television Group.

On Tuesday evening, it appeared that the only ads in the section were for the movie "Syriania." But, despite the limited ads, Moore said that visitor engagement has been high, with visitors to the site--which includes written posts and photo essays--remaining an average of nine minutes.

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