Bebo Preps Online Reality Series

NEW YORK Global social networking site Bebo, in conjunction with television producer Endemol U.K., is launching an interactive online reality series focused on travel.

The show is called The Gap Year, a reference to the prolonged period a student takes between secondary school and university or between university studies and graduate school. Three young men and three young women will be chosen to represent the U.K., Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Show hopefuls will be subjected to an interactive audition on Bebo, with a casting call in December. The video auditions will run on the Bebo site and users will have input in selecting the participants. The weekly show will be filmed next year.

The show is designed to tout Bebo’s global reach. The Gap Year contestants will travel around the world to destinations such as Iceland, Namibia, Thailand, Russia, Brazil, China and Sri Lanka.

Contestants will document their experiences on Bebo, posting video diaries, blogs and photos. In a broader sense, the show seeks to connect the 39 million Bebo users to the contestants through travel tips, the creation of a living travel encyclopedia and voter polls. Users will have the chance to influence how the journeys unravel.

The Gap Year is the first truly interactive reality series, giving Beboers a unique layer of interactivity—the chance to literally steer the fate of the contestants,” said Joanna Shields, president of Bebo.

Added Peter Cowley, managing director of digital media at Endemol U.K.: “We’re looking for Bebo’s most adventurous members. Whether applicants have traveled abroad before, or simply chatted about it online with Bebo friends, The Gap Year promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.”