Burnett partners with MySpace
EmptyMySpace is partnering with unscripted TV guru Mark Burnett on an interactive Internet/TV series aimed at shaking up the nation's political climate.
In addition, the News Corp.-owned site announced Tuesday the launch of a new Spanish-language version of MySpace catering to the growing U.S. Latino population.
Through a collaboration with Burnett ("Survivor"), MySpace will launch the reality show "Independent" in early 2008. Contestants interested in becoming America's "next great politician" can declare their candidacy via MySpace Video and receive feedback from the viewing public through their MySpace profiles.
Still to be determined is which TV network will carry weekly episodes of "Independent."
"This is America -- it's a true democracy, and the modern democracy can not ignore social media," Burnett said. "By looking for the voice of independent young Americans and by galvanizing that community to watch, their chosen candidates will make for exciting television."
Once the candidates are narrowed down through online votes, viewers of the weekly network show and those online will advise the candidates on which national issues to tackle during their campaign. Ultimately, the winner will receive $1 million, which they will be required to either donate to a political cause or to their own future political campaign.
"Any time you've got two media titans like Mark Burnett and MySpace teaming up, it's interesting, but when you're talking about a project that has the potential to redemocratize American politics, the potential is extraordinary," said Jeff Berman, senior vp public affairs and general manager of video, MySpace. "I predict you'll see actual presidential candidates taking notes from candidates on 'Independent.' "
Known for his creation of reality TV shows like "The Apprentice," Burnett has been busy creating for the online space. In September, he partnered with AOL on the online reality competition "Gold Rush." Other online ventures include a 2004 collaboration with Yahoo! Inc. on the official Web site for "Apprentice" and a 2005 partnership with MSN involving the Web site for Burnett's "Rock Star: INXS."
Meanwhile, MySpace is launching MySpace en Espanol, which will focus on artists and feature content relevant to the U.S. Latino population.
The site disclosed further plans for a future Spanish-based site for Latin American residents and one for communities in Mexico and Brazil.
"We're moving rapidly to build communities that reflect and respect the lifestyles of our diverse members," said Travis Katz, senior vp and GM of MySpace International.
According to Nielsen//NetRatings, 43% of all U.S.-based Latino Internet users visit MySpace with the site among the country's top five most-visited by the Latino population on the Web.