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Gen Y to get ‘Shot’ online

Maverick, Madison team on talent hunt

Madison Road Entertainment is pacting with Guy Oseary and Madonna’s Maverick label to launch a sort of “Star Search” for the YouTube generation.

Shingles are behind “Big Shot,” a 13-week, 91-episode talent competition that will offer at least a few minutes of fame every day to would-be singers, models, comics, filmmakers and thesps.

Goal of the project is to create a new batch of Internet stars (think lonelygirl15) — and to then link those stars with companies that want to be associated with marketable Net-based talent.

“Big Shot” will achieve that sort of linkage by making many of its prizes tie-ins to existing entertainment properties. Winner of an acting competition, for example, might win a role on Maverick-produced FX drama “The Riches,” thus promoting the skein.

“These individuals become marketable talent,” said Madison Road partner Jak Severson. “The notion is, as long as you’re popular, advertisers want to market around you.”

Set to launch Sept. 10, “Big Shot” will feature a different talent competition every day — singing on Monday or standup on Fridays, for example.

Having a new winner every day was deemed critical in order to keep the instant gratification-minded Gen Y aud involved, Severson said.

Contestants will post their profiles on the “Big Shot” Web site and get 30 seconds to wow the online masses via video.

Rather than lure random surfers, “Big Shot” hopes contestants will rally their online peers — think MySpace friends, etc. — to visit the site and propel them to victory.

“It’s all about an 11th grade kid who already has an online fanbase using his virtual friends” to get ahead, Maverick TV topper Michael Rosenberg said.

Each day’s winner will be flown to Hollywood and given a chance to audition for a “talent rainmaker” — an agent, producer or exec with the ability to further showbiz careers. It’s expected William Morris, which reps Madison Road on this project, will be involved as a “rainmaker,” Severson said.

Those that impress will land a gig; the rest will leave the competition.

Whole process will be chronicled in daily Webisodes lasting five or six minutes. Would-be stars will get the chance to keep landing new showbiz gigs if they generate enough traffic to their online Webisodes.

“If you’re popular enough, we’re going to give you something else to do,” Severson said.

One of the unique twists of “Big Shot” will be how Madison Road and Maverick plan to distribute the show.

Companies are looking at a sort of online syndie model, partnering with local TV stations in as many as 200 markets to serve, in essence, as affiliates for the show.

Stations will feature the “Big Shot” competition on their Web sites, with each station directing viewers to its site via their newscasts and on-air promotions. Local sites will feature local talent prominently, giving the competition a community flavor.

“The TV station will be able to lure a younger demo to their sites,” Severson said, noting that local news auds skew older.

Madison Road and Maverick will share commercial revenue with the stations. Severson said conversations with potential affils have already begun.

“Big Shot” is the second major online initiative announced by Madison Road in the past month. Company is also behind AOL’s upcoming “Million Dollar Bill” contest.

In addition to “The Riches,” Maverick recently wrapped its MTV skein “I’m With Rolling Stone.”

Maverick is repped by CAA.

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