Ventimiglia outfits Web series

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"Heroes" star Milo Ventimiglia is directing a new Web comedy series for American Eagle Outfitters titled "It's a Mall World" that will premiere on MTV and in the chain's stores in the form of three-minute "minisodes." The full five-minute episodes will run exclusively on AE.com starting in August.

The 12-episode series, written by Adam Green ("Hatchet") and produced by Divide Pictures co-founder Russ Cundiff, will feature an American Eagle store along with a fictitious independent record store, lingerie shop and juice bar. It is the first original series from American Eagle Outfitters.

"We hope that 'It's a Mall World' is a source of entertainment and fun for our customers and in the long run creates an emotional connection with the brand, and that has real value for us," AE spokeswoman Jani Strand said. "We find that creating this kind of content increases traffic to our stores, increases sales over time and traffic to the Web site as well."

The minisodes will premiere on MTV during "The Real World: Sydney," set to air in the summer, as part of AE's overall media buy with the network. "Our audience is always looking to us for new entertainment experiences, from hit shows to content partnerships, that extend to both on-air and online," said John Shea, executive vp for MTV Networks Music and Logo Group. "American Eagle and Divide Pictures are helping us deliver on that notion, and we are excited to work closely with our partners to once again change the mold to deliver a new experience for our audience."

The webisodes will air on AE.com at 8 p.m. Thursday nights starting Aug. 2.

"Mall World" explores the lives and relationships of two record store employees, a greeter/salesgirl at the American Eagle store across the way, a "slightly psychotic" girl who works in the fictional lingerie store Glorious Chest and a "bad-boy poseur from the requisite mall juice bar," American Eagle said.

The ensemble cast includes Sam Huntington ("Superman Returns"), Dianna Agron ("Shark"), Amanda Loncar ("The Loop"), Deon Richmond ("Hatchet") and Eddie Hargitay ("Neutral Ground"). Ventimiglia starred as Rocky's son Robert Jr. in last year's "Rocky Balboa."

In another MTV integrated marketing partnership announced Wednesday, the network partnered with San Francisco-based Delivery Agent to launch two new online stores where fans can purchase clothing and accessories featured on MTV's "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" and Logo's "Noah's Arc."
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