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This presidential race is making for strange bedfellows.
For the first time, Viacom Inc.-owned MTV and News Corp.’s MySpace are partnering for a series of one-on-one real-time dialogues between the leading candidates and college-age Americans that will be streamed live on MTV.com and MySpaceTV and aired on MTV and mtvU.
The first dialogue will be with John Edwards, the Democratic former senator from North Carolina, in the early primary state of New Hampshire, set for Sept. 27.
The discussions, which will take place on college campuses nationwide, allow MTV viewers and MySpace users to submit questions in real time through MySpaceIM, mobile devices and e-mail while simultaneously watching the webcasts. Additionally, online viewer reaction will be captured through live polling tools on MTV.com and MySpaceTV.com.
MTV and MySpace is just the latest pairing to innovate the 2008 race. Last month, CNN and YouTube teamed for the first of a series of debates incorporating pretaped questions submitted by users.
MTV president Christina Norman said the reach of MySpace and the tools of the social networking site were what attracted the network to the collaboration.
“The tools that MySpace provides are for the first time ever engaging candidates in a real-time dialogue, not just questions and answers,” Norman said. “For us, the great thing is that MySpace fulfills the promise of what community can be.”
Candidates participating in the dialogues, which will be held in an intimate group setting, include Edwards, Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both Republicans.
The initiative will allow viewers access to the series of discussions whenever they want it, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe said.
“It’s the kind of process that lives on after the initial webcast and airing with the ability to continue to play back the debate,” he said.
The venture between MTV and MySpace is part of MTV’s political activism campaign “Choose or Lose,” which first launched in 1992. It also comes under the auspices of MySpace’s Impact Channel, a recently launched politically minded hub within the MySpace community.
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