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'Hardly News' to Inaugurate Bud.TV

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NEW YORK Five months after launching, Warner Bros. Television Group's Studio 2.0 will release its first series, Hardly News, which mixes current events and comedy with a game-show format.

Jointly produced with WBTG's Telepictures Productions, the 8-10-minute show will run on Anheuser-Busch's new broadband video network, Bud.TV. Both properties debut Feb. 5.

Hardly News will challenge users to answer tongue-in-cheek questions in the areas of pop culture, celebrity gossip and politics.

The program's comedic and interactive nature follows Bud.TV's mandate "to entertain online" and "get massive talk value" for the new site, said Tony Ponturo, the brewer's vp of global media and sports marketing.

For now, the target audience of 21-34-year-old male beer enthusiasts will "play against their computers," but a multi-player application is under consideration, said Rich Rosenthal, svp of creative affairs and production at Studio 2.0, which creates ad-sponsored content for mobile and broadband distribution.

Rosenthal described the hosted game show as a cross between The Daily Show and You Don't Know Jack.

A foretaste of what he dubbed its "satirical sensibility" is a segment called "Native Dish or World Leader?" that lets users decide whether Butros Butros-Ghali connotes a plate of hummus or a statesman.

"Who Said That?" challenges users to identify the originators of various quotations.

Footage will be culled from a range of sources, such as TMC, the Associated Press and entertainment magazine Extra, which is distributed by Warner Bros.

Studio 2.0 has another Bud.tv production on its development slate, though Rosenthal declined to discuss specifics.

The venture is also producing roughly a dozen short-form animated and live-action shows, both scripted and unscripted, according to Rosenthal.