Paramount, Gaumont set ‘Section’

Digital unit spins interactive Web show

Paramount Digital Entertainment and Gaumont are teaming to produce a made-for-Internet series, “Section 8,” which will preem in the U.S. on MySpace.

The thriller will have elements designed to allow viewers to use various functions of the social networking service while watching the segs. Viewers will also be able to vote on the ending of the series.

Par plans to produce about a dozen episodes of six to nine minutes each. It’s expected that new segs will run multiple times a week for the first few weeks and then on a weekly basis as the series wraps up. Par expects to begin shooting the show in Los Angeles in June to preem in the fall.

“Section 8” was developed by a Par-based producer with an eye toward doing something that would take advantage of MySpace’s bells and whistles, but the final writing and producing credits are still being worked out, according to Paramount Digital prexy Thomas Lesinski.

“We’re trying to use as much interactivity as we can in order for consumers to have a vested interest in viewing,” Lesinski said.

After the segs bow on MySpace, they will be available on other prominent Internet vid providers, including iTunes and Hulu.

The project aims to make most of its money from brand integrations featured in the episodes. Endemol is on board to handle product integration deals for the series and worldwide distribution. Project will be shopped to digital and TV buyers at this week’s Mip TV confab.

Endemol chief commercial officer Tom Toumazis said one Endemol role will be attracting big advertising brands to co-finance Web distribution.

“To attract great ad brands, it’s great to work with great producer brands,” he said.

Paramount, Gaumont and Endemol plan to collect the webisodes and redistribute as a theatrical feature.

Par is also planning a DVD release for “Section 8.”

The Par Digital unit previously experimented with high-end made-for-Internet fare with the feature-length “Jackass 2.5,” which bowed in 2007.

(John Hopewell in Cannes contributed to this report.)

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