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Sony Seeks Bidders for eBayTV

1/05/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

In an attempt to create a new genre for daytime television, Sony Pictures Television is developing eBayTV for fall 2003.

"Shows that create a new genre and break new ground are the franchise," said John Weiser, executive vice president of Sony Pictures Television. "When eBayTV
hits, it will own the auction space and no one will be able to follow it."

Partnering with online auction house eBay, the show will combine segments that are similar to Paramount's Entertainment Tonight, Sony's Ripley's Believe It Or Not
and PBS's Antiques Roadshow, Weiser said. Sony Pictures might partner with its film division and interview Tobey Maguire, star of Sony's Spider-Man, Weiser said. Maguire's Spiderman mask could go up for sale on eBay.

The show will feature segments on people who have assembled large collections via eBay purchase. "The people who collect on eBay are more interesting than what they collect, but the show also will feature some very unique collections," Weiser said.

Already in consideration are segments on the largest McDonald's memorabilia collection in the world, the largest glass-eyeball collection in the world and a look at a man whose "whole life is devoted to bananas," he said. The show also will look at some of the most interesting and expensive items to be sold on the site and give their history, including appraisals and valuations.

The show hopes to help TV-station partners develop their own electronic-commerce businesses. The online auctioneer will pay stations $6 per person they bring to the service, which could amount to a "tremendous passive revenue stream," Weiser said. EBay also will give stations proprietary software so they can run local auctions and price-fixed sales on their sites.

"Every item that is listed on the local station's site also can be co-listed on eBay's national site," Weiser said, exposing that ad to the 55 million people who use eBay today.

EBayTV
will be hosted by Molly Pesce, a former Miss Florida who has hosted Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater
and reviewed movies for Comedy's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. "We were looking for someone who is upscale and smart and who knows how to think on her feet, which is critical with this kind of show," Weiser said.

The show is cleared on some Gannett- and Belo-owned stations and is awaiting deals with major station groups.

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