BC Beat


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Carson Daly, MRE Team for Daily Web Show

Just learned about those dazzling Diet Coke-Mentos fountains? Puzzled by the phrase "chocolate rain?" Then you, friend, are woefully behind in the fast-moving world of the Web—and late-night host Carson Daly and Madison Road Entertainment are here to help.

Daly and MRE are drafting some top Web talent for The Really Big Internet Show, a new Web show that will tell users what's hot online.

Justine Ezarik, a Web waif who goes by iJustine and draws nearly 4 million views on her own site, will host the daily roundup. After a quick rundown of what she's watching on the Web from her perch in Los Angeles she'll throw (via Webcam) to a team of "Web celebs" who'll tout their picks.

Set to launch in July, the show will go online each weekday at lunchtime (a prime time for Web viewing) at Reallybiginternetshow.com and on other sites, including Facebook and MySpace.

Among the correspondents are HappySlip and KevJumba (of The CW's short-lived Online Nation), each of whom has drawn more than 5 million viewers to their You Tube channels alone.

"The hope is by bringing on this talent, their own viewers will gravitate to this program and become our viewers," says MRE managing partner Jak Severson.

The plan is to frequently rotate in new talent to keep up with Web trends. Management firm DC Partners is also a partner in the show.


If its defunct right-leaning editorial series, The Point With Mark Hyman, or its refusal to broadcast Nightline's 2004 tribute to the Iraq war dead are any indication, Sinclair Broadcast Group isn't coy about its conservative tendencies.

Still, when we happened to Google the company last week, we were surprised by the blurb below the link to Sinclair's site, which began: "Politically conservative chain of more than 50 television stations…."

It struck us as odd for a big news outfit to tout its bias so brazenly, and Sinclair agreed. "It shouldn't be in there," said a spokesperson, who was unaware of the description. "That's never been a characterization we've used."

After investigating, Sinclair called back to say the blurb was not the result of a vast left-wing conspiracy, but the handiwork of the Open Directory Project, a multilingual community of some 80,000 volunteer editors who index just about everything in the search universe. (Google confirmed that it uses ODP entries in its Web Directory.)

ODP is owned by Netscape, whose parent, AOL, simply explained that "tens of thousands of people contribute" to the directory.

Sure enough, the biased blurb was gone the next day, replaced by a new description calling Sinclair "one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country today."

Biased? You decide.

Broken News

MSNBC gave new meaning to the term "breaking news" last week when it introduced new online tools to make accessing news on its Website more "fun."

In addition to NewsBlaster, a game that challenges players to "smash orbs holding live news headlines," users can also get their news in 3D with Spectra, a "customizable kaleidoscope of news" that renders headlines in "colorful, graphic whirlwinds."

Got a Webcam? Get headlines that correspond to body motions or the color of your clothes, such as environmental stories to match your green shirt.

While this all sounds like "fun" indeed, it also opens up some alarming possibilities—say, a colorful, graphic whirlwind delivering the news of the cyclone tragedy in Myanmar or "smashing" an orb to get a headline about another crane collapse.

Will MSNBC filter out the not-so-fun content to prevent such collisions?

No, says a spokeswoman. Consumers can customize the RSS feeds themselves to get the subjects they want.

There you have it: News to amuse.