Vlogger Signs With ABC, HBO

NEW YORK Ending weeks of speculation, popular video blogger Amanda Congdon is joining ABC News Digital Media Group as a contributor.

In that capacity, she will host a five-minute weekly vlog for abcnews.com and make regular appearances on 24-hour digital channel ABC News Now.

Congdon is also developing a comedy show for HBO that will straddle both television and broadband.

Details of both projects will be “hammered out between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Congdon.

This much she conceded: “The ABC show will cover a wide range of changes in media, [the] emergence of new media, the environment, politics and anything that touches my interest.”

As for as the HBO project, “I’m sure I’ll be helped by a team of writers,” she said.

Congdon gained a measure of fame as the former anchor of the much-trafficked vlog Rocketbloom, which she co-founded two years ago in New York with producer Andrew Baron.

Since her departure in July, she has developed other projects, including a roving citizen journalism vlog, AmandaAcrossAmerica, that debuted this fall on amandacongdon.com and Web network blip.tv.

The series has been sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council and sibling nonprofit Environmental Countdown. Corporate backers included Ford, which supplied the Escape hybrid she used on her cross-country adventures.

Anticipating her upcoming gigs, Congdon said, “I’m going to be involved in every aspect, down to sitting in the editing room.”

“The way [ABC] will be monetizing our show will be largely in their hands,” said Congdon. “But I will be very clear about not having any pre-roll advertisements.”

ABC apparently is well advised that their newest star is no shrinking violet. “I told them, ‘Look, I’m going to be kind of picky about my show, and everything has got to work in harmony,'” she said.

“The great thing about Disney ABC is that they’re very much interested in finding out how things play online and not just putting old ideas of how to advertise in a new space,” she added.

Bringing Congdon to ABC allows the organization “to capture her audience and increase our [piece of the pie],” said Michael Clemente, executive producer, ABC News Digital Media. “She’s got her own people in the vlogosphere who she’s been connecting with very effectively,” he said.

Abcnews.com has 12 million unique users, up from 6 million in spring 2005. ABC’s digital audience is predominantly 18-49, which Clemente said dovetails with Congdon’s “pretty well spread out” fan base of 20-40 year olds.

According to Congdon, discussions with both outlets began in July, two months after she signed with the Endeavor talent agency.

Congdon said, “ABC really is the leader in online programming for news, so it’s just a natural fit.” As for HBO, “it has the most entertaining and original programming in terms of comedy and anything that is not news related,” she said.

Will Congdon be able to assert the same quirky, tongue-in-cheek tone that brought her renown?

“The reason why it took a little longer [to close the ABC and HBO deals] than I’d hoped was that I wanted to make sure that I had the ability to be myself in both outlets,” she said.

“We have every bit of room for her serious side,” said ABC’s Clemente, “as well as for her very clever side that pops right off the screen.” HBO officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In addition to her new gigs, Congdon plans to continue producing content for her personal Web site.

“I’m going to have some very late nights and early mornings,” she added.