'Roommates' joins MySpace

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NEW YORK -- MySpace is trying its hand at content creation, presenting "Roommates," its first co-developed series set to premiere Monday exclusively on the News Corp.-owned social networking platform.

MySpace already has provided the platform for several original series, including the Vuguru production "Prom Queen," which premiered earlier in the year, and the Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick-created "Quarterlife," set to debut next month. "Roommates," a collaboration with new-media production company Iron Sink Media, will be the first time that MySpace has creative control, though.

The show will follow eight former female college roommates who move to Los Angeles after graduation, with some of them participating in a fake reality show. It will run for 45 three-minute episodes, with a new one appearing at 4 p.m. EDT Monday-Friday; it only will appear on MySpace.

Ford Focus will be the show's "title sponsor," and it is the only advertiser that MySpace is announcing at this time. The car company will present short bumper ads before the episodes, and the Focus will be integrated into the series, with one of the characters purchasing the car, among other product placements.

MySpace TV GM Jeff Berman said this integration would not take away from the show. "We're pretty comfortable that this is being done in a way that's authentic and not heavy-handed," he said.

The show also will allow for community interaction, giving MySpace users the opportunity to decide certain plot aspects of the show. Berman said it wouldn't quite be "choose your own adventure," but it would be a similar idea.

Berman also promised that there would be more to come from MySpace on the content-creation front.

"There are other opportunities out there," he said. "This is a incredible and relatively inexpensive proving ground."

Also on Friday, MySpace said it promoted Bryce Emo to senior vp and head of sales, a position in which he will oversee all sales for the social networking site. Emo was vp East Coast sales and vp Midwest branded sales. In his new role, he will report to MySpace CEO co-founder Chris DeWolfe and Fox Interactive Media chief revenue officer Michael Barrett.
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