NEW YORK CBS has partnered with Saturn to launch Novel Adventures, an original branded-entertainment series on the Web about four women who participate in a book club.
The show, which stars former Melrose Place regular Daphne Zuniga, will premiere Nov. 3. Each of the eight planned episodes will first be exclusively available on CBS.com, TheInsider.com and TV.com for 48 hours, after which they will be rolled out across the CBS Audience Network, which includes AOL, Yahoo!, Veoh and other sites.
Novel Adventures was created by Jonathan Prince, who wrote and produced the movie The Cleaner, and also produced the defunct CBS soap Cane. Each episode will feature the four thrill-seeking female friends embarking on various adventures after being inspired by books they read in their club.
For example, in the premiere episode the group takes a deep-sea fishing trip after reading Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. In a later episode, the group attends spy school after reading several of Robert Ludlum-penned Jason Bourne thrillers.
As for the show's branded-entertainment elements, one of the characters, Lizzie (played by actress Ashley Williams), is married to a man who is a successful Saturn dealer. Lizzie will be seen from time to time driving the group to and from their adventures in a Saturn car as well.
"We're constantly looking for innovative and creative ways to showcase our new lineup of Saturn vehicles," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's general manager. "In this case, we wanted to do something online that could leverage today's active social-networking environment."
In terms of social networking, CBS will encourage viewers of Novel Adventures to participate in online discussions following each episode, as well as parallel discussions on the books featured in the show.
In addition, CBS.com will offer an outlet for fans to suggest books to be featured in future episodes, along with various quizzes and message boards.