[05/31/06 - 12:00 AM]
USA Network's Digital Community Spawns New Short-Form Programming from Magical Elves

[via press release from USA]



Brand is Basis for New Original Programming Development

NEW YORK, NY � May 31, 2006 � On the heels of the success of the first digital social networking initiative from a TV brand, USA Network announced today the launch of "Character Road Trip" � a television offshoot of the successful Show Us Your Character web destination. This is one of two short-form programs it plans to debut as part of the channel's ongoing efforts to expand its Characters Welcome brand to all facets of the business. Marking a joint effort between programming and marketing, the innovative short-form programming from Magical Elves ("Treasure Hunters," "Project Runway") is set to launch in October 2006, it was announced today by Jeff Wachtel, USA's executive vice president of original programming and Chris McCumber, USA's senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy.

"We're excited to participate in the growth of the company's successful Characters Welcome campaign," Wachtel remarked. "The distinctly stylized productions Magical Elves has brought to the marketplace prove that reality shows can have a clean, original look on a reasonable budget without sparing top-notch production values. They are truly the masters of integrated programming."

"Since we launched the Characters Welcome brand in July of last year, we have steadily introduced new facets of the initiative," explained McCumber. "What we realized quickly with the success of showusyourcharacter.com was that the content users were submitting would make for great television. The next logical step was to expand the initiative to include an on-air component."

Produced by multiple Emmy nominees Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, the creative team behind production company Magical Elves, the addition of original shortform programming serves as a complement to Characters Welcome. For each project, USA Network will produce forty five-minute episodes a year, with 10 of each scheduled to air per quarter. With this latest venture, USA continues to broaden the scope of the brand and salute the real-life characters that populate cities and towns across the country.

Character Road Trip � An on-air extension of showusyourcharacter.com, "Character Road Trip" will be featured as a series of short-form interstitials throughout a primetime show. At its heart, the segments are a celebration of what makes our country great. Each week the hosts (TBD) will travel to a different American town in search of the greatest "characters" the country has to offer. Viewers will be given a peek into who they are and what makes them unique. Whether someone can juggle chainsaws, has the world's largest banana collection, writes symphonies for tugboats or is a Thai Elvis impersonator, they will be provided with a platform to strut their stuff and demonstrate how they do it.

Character Fantasy � Have you ever wanted to be a celebrity? Did you ever want to be the life of the party? Now's your chance to become the character you've always dreamed of with USA Network's new wish-fulfillment show. Paired with USA's Saturday afternoon programming, the host(s) (TBD), who are characters in their own right, will seek out real people with character fantasies. Perhaps you'd like to be transformed into an actor from your favorite movie. Or, maybe you've always wondered what it would be like to shed your girl-next-door image and experience being a stylish sophisticate. Whatever the wish, the fantasies will be about unleashing people's inner characters. Through this, people will get the chance to become whatever they want to be and learn to have more fun with their lives.

Since its formation in the summer of 2001, Magical Elves has developed and produced numerous acclaimed shows for NBC, ABC, Bravo and HBO. After a successful collaboration on the Emmy-nominated reality show "Bands on the Run," Lipsitz and Cutforth formed Magical Elves to exploit their diverse backgrounds and varied experience. This partnership has gone on to create some of the most talked about shows on television, including the Emmy-nominated "Project Runway" and "Project Greenlight" for Bravo, as well as "Last Comic Standing" for NBC. More recently, in addition to new seasons of those shows, Magical Elves has produced the ratings success "Top Chef" for Bravo and the upcoming "Treasure Hunters" for NBC. One of the largest reality shows NBC has ever commissioned, "Treasure Hunters" is a partnership between Magical Elves, Madison Road and Imagine Television. Magical Elves has constantly been on the cutting edge of entertainment, embracing new technologies and pushing the boundaries of reality television.

For photos of all USA NETWORK projects, please log on to the NBC Universal Media Village at http://www.nbcumv.com/.

USA NETWORK is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports and entertainment events, off-net television shows, and blockbuster theatrical films. The #1 basic cable network across the board in 1Q06, USA Network is seen in 90 million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.

USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

  [may 2006]  


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