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MSN debuts Wonderwall

Website will cover celebrity scene

MSN is getting into the celebrity news business, launching Wonderwall, an entertainment website created with BermanBraun Interactive.

Site, whose launch is timed around this weekend’s Grammy Awards, will feature personality stories penned by an inhouse staff, as well as items aggregated from MSN’s network of sites.

BermanBraun, the film, TV and new-media shingle formed by former Fox and Paramount exec Gail Berman and ABC and Yahoo alum Lloyd Braun in 2007, oversaw the development of the site and will operate it for MSN.

Alex Blagg, founding editor of VH1’s “Best Week Ever” blog, serves as lead editor of Wonderwall and its five-person staff.

Central to site’s design is a graphic-heavy horizontal scrolling wall that displays celebrity info, photos, videos and other fare.

MSN launched the site as a way to capitalize on the appeal of celebrity news and the increase in traffic going to gossip blogs and other sites. The entertainment gossip category grew 12% last year, according to Comscore Media Metrix.

Company was already including coverage of celeb news on its various sites but didn’t have one overall destination that showcased MSN’s point of view, said Rob Bennett, general manager of MSN.

Creating one site will enable it to appeal more to advertisers as well. MediaVest is handling ad sales.

“We saw an exciting opportunity to aggregate and program MSN’s celebrity-pop-culture content in a dynamic and visually arresting way,” said BermanBraun partners Berman and Braun.

MSN will promote Wonderwall across its sites, including its homepage, as well as via MSN Entertainment, which attracts more than 19 million uniques per month.

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