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Williams to bow online stand-up act

Original material released through Audible Inc.

Robin Williams will unleash original stand-up material exclusively online through spoken word Web site Audible Inc.

An Audible shareholder, Williams will roll out a weekly half-hour comedy program in April, mixing solo routines with celeb interviews. The multiyear pact was announced Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Williams hopes more performers will follow his lead in jumping into the ‘Net: “I love reaching out to audiences directly. I hope that this effort will prompt other artists to take control of their talent, bypassing traditional channels and finding new audiences over the Internet.”

Audible, which launched in 1997, hit the jackpot when adding Williams to its programming slate, which currently includes audio books, magazines and newspapers. “The opportunity to regularly feature the unique comedy of Robin Williams via audible.com represents a giant step for the Internet,” said Audible chair and founder Donald Katz.

Audible partners include Compaq Computer, S3/Diamond Multimedia Systems, Microsoft, Royal Philips Electronics and Realnetworks.

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