Big Shot To Launch

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Madison Road Entertainment and Maverick Television, the company founded by Madonna, along with the William Morris Agency, will launch an online answer to American Idol that will give aspiring performers the chance to get in front of Hollywood dealmakers.

Big Shot will allow anyone to upload video to compete in one of seven daily talent categories, such as acting, singing and filmmaking. Daily online polls will determine which performers in each category will be whisked off to Hollywood for an audition.

“With that viral component of needing to attract votes, it is designed to be both localized and simulcast across social-networking sites,” says Jak Severson, managing partner of Madison Road, also behind AOL's forthcoming Million Dollar Bill.

The project, which will feature a five-minute daily Web show, is set to launch after Labor Day and run at least 13 weeks. (Madonna's involvement, if any, will be determined in coming weeks.)

MRE and Maverick will also reach out to local television stations for barter deals to drive contestants and viewers to the contest and stations' Websites. They are already in talks with multiple syndicators.

Brands from categories including wireless, beverage and a major magazine are expected to be attached and may be involved in projects with the winners, such as a commercial featuring a winning actor.

Says Maverick President Michael Rosenberg, “This is a much more accessible and tangible delivery of the promise of what Star Search was or even American Idol.”

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