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Yahoo! Preps Musical Newscast

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LOS ANGELES Yahoo! is hoping a quirky take on the news will strike a chord as its next original programming effort.

The Web giant confirmed that it would launch a new initiative before the end of this quarter that will feature a journalist-cum-crooner who will sing the news.

While a Yahoo! representative declined to elaborate on the video project, which will be titled "Odd News Underground," he did issue a statement from Scott Moore, head of news and information.

"This project will create an entirely new kind of news beat, so stay tuned," Moore said. "All I can say for now is that this reporter will leave you tapping your feet."

The singing anchor is the first venture from Yahoo! News since last year's launch of "The Hot Zone With Kevin Sites," which chronicles the correspondent's travels to war-torn areas around the globe. It also is one of the few programming initiatives Yahoo has mounted since a December company reorganization that led key content execs including Lloyd Braun and David Katz to leave.

Yahoo! declined to identify the warbler/wag, but sources said the performer is not an unknown and has experience as a reporter and musician. The venture is expected to be on the lighter side, so ditties about Iraq aren't to be expected.

Yahoo! News' latest effort will emerge from drastically different circumstances than when "Zone" debuted as the first program during Braun's tenure. Yahoo! seemed to be positioning itself as a content player with the reach to rival even broadcast networks.

But by mid-2006, Yahoo! had downscaled its programming ambitions and launched only a few, modest ventures. The company has put considerably more emphasis on incorporating user-generated content like a new food-oriented section that features an original program, Cheap 'n' Easy.

Moore continues to oversee Yahoo! News, while Vince Broady oversees entertainment, games and music. Both report to Jeff Weiner, head of newly created division Yahoo! Network.