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'Rock Star: INXS' to Roll With MSN

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NEW YORK Reality TV magnate Mark Burnett's latest offering, Rock Star: INXS, has officially decided upon MSN as its online outpost for the series.

MSN will both create content and sell advertising for the site, RockStar.MSN.com, which goes live sometime in June. Much like the acclaimed Web site tied to Burnett's NBC hit The Apprentice, MSN said that the Rock Star site will include behind the scenes footage from the show that does not make it to air, along with contestant profiles, gossip, and even a blog, which may end up being composed by one of the contestants.

Rock Star: INXS, which debuts on CBS July 11, will air three nights a week this summer. The show will follow a group of rock artists as they audition to become the lead singer of the 1980s band INXS, whose lead singer, Michael Hutchence, died in 1997.

The MSN Rock Star site will serve as a means to enhance the series through various convergent media tactics, including video footage of performances in the show, which will be supported by 15-second ads, as well as downloadable music playlists as selected by the competitors. These playlists may include actual performances from the show.

MSN said that it plans to widely promote the site and the show across a wide array of its properties, including MSN Video, MSN Messenger, MSN Alerts and MSN Shopping.

Interestingly, despite the success of the Apprentice Web site, Mark Burnett did elect to re-up with Yahoo, which plays a similar role in managing that site. In either case, Burnett chose to operate its Web efforts for both series separately, including ad sales, from its broadcast partner.