'Tyra' gets virtual hangout


Fans of "The Tyra Banks Show" can now re-create themselves and interact online with Monday's launch of a new virtual studio based on the talk show.

Through a collaboration between Telepictures Prods. and Doppelganger, the virtual studio will exist within the 3-D virtual world the Music Lounge and allow users to design avatars, explore a virtual city and interact with the show's host.

"This opportunity gives the show a new platform for its audience of young adults to blend the entertainment value of television with the socializing power of the Web, which is increasingly becoming an integral component of that audience's daily media mix," Telepictures president Hilary Estey McLoughlin said.

Optimized for AOL Instant Messenger, the Music Lounge -- a Doppelganger property -- allows users to customize everything on their avatars ranging from hair and clothes to personality.

To join Banks on the virtual set, viewers can download the software from the talk show's site, www.tyrashow.com.

"We're very excited about giving Tyra's fans a place to hang out online, talk about the show, connect with each other and enjoy exclusive content and events," Doppelganger CEO Tim Stevens said.

"Tyra Banks," in its second season of syndication, is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.