MySpace Goes Political

LOS ANGELES MySpace is partnering with unscripted TV guru Mark Burnett on an interactive Internet/TV series aimed at shaking up the nation’s political climate.

Through a collaboration with Burnett (Survivor), MySpace will launch the reality show “Independent” in early 2008. Contestants interested in becoming America’s “next great politician” can declare their candidacy via MySpace Video and receive feedback from the viewing public through their MySpace profiles.

Still to be determined is which TV network will carry weekly episodes of “Independent.”

“This is America—it’s a true democracy, and the modern democracy cannot ignore social media,” Burnett said. “By looking for the voice of independent young Americans and by galvanizing that community to watch, their chosen candidates will make for exciting television.”

Once the candidates are narrowed down through online votes, viewers of the weekly network show and those online will advise the candidates on which national issues to tackle during their campaign.

Ultimately, the winner will receive $1 million, which he or she will be required to either donate to a political cause or to his or her own future political campaign.

“Anytime you’ve got two media titans like Mark Burnett and MySpace teaming up, it’s interesting, but when you’re talking about a project that has the potential to re-Democratize American politics, the potential is extraordinary,” said Jeff Berman, svp, public affairs and gm of video at MySpace. “I predict you’ll see actual presidential candidates taking notes from candidates on ‘Independent.'”

Known for his reality TV shows like The Apprentice, Burnett has been busy creating for the online space. In September, he partnered with AOL on the online reality competition “Gold Rush.” Similar ventures include a 2004 collaboration with Yahoo! on the official Web site for The Apprentice and a 2005 partnership with MSN involving the Web site for Rock Star: INXS.