REDMOND, Wash., April 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MSN today announced that it is renewing and enhancing its relationship with Mark Burnett Productions by again providing exclusive programming online for the second season of CBS' "Rock Star," the reality show that revived the fortunes of international rock band INXS. For the first time, weekly behind-the-scenes episodes containing all original footage will be streamed exclusively on the Web on MSN(R). (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO ) Following last year's success, MSN will again create dynamic content and provide interactive online features such as domestic and international online voting, extending the interactive experience for the CBS TV audience and MSN customers. Just as in season one, four types of content will be available each week: extensive and immersive behind-the-scenes unscripted drama (produced exclusively for MSN); one performance show and one results show (both produced exclusively for CBS); and, like last year, extensive original wireless content. The MSN behind-the-scenes unscripted drama will allow viewers to learn what it takes for the contestants to choose their songs and prepare for their weekly performances, and follow the characters as they develop and grow under enormous pressure. It will be available at http://rockstar.msn.com , enabling on-demand viewing via streaming. In addition, MSN will again host the official Web site, providing visitors with a VIP celebrity experience through exclusive video footage that includes outtakes, the opportunity to replay contestant performances, music downloads, profiles of contestants, and MSN Spaces contestant blogs. During the show's first season, MSN drew a tremendous number of visitors streaming over 20 million clips of superstar hopefuls competing to become the new lead singer of INXS. Recordings by all finalists appeared in the top 100 most downloaded tracks on MSN Music, and more than 14 million votes were cast online for contestants in the competition. "MSN did a fabulous job of extending and enhancing the 'Rock Star' experience for consumers with fantastic online content," said Mark Burnett, creator and executive producer of "CBS's Rock Star." "Our television ratings increased as viewers used MSN to learn more about the contestants and chat with other fans in forming opinions. They began to learn way more than is possible in a traditional TV experience. Fans were taken deep inside the competition using MSN's impressive array of online content properties. By increasing our online unscripted drama content and providing an even more immersive experience through behind-the-scenes episodes exclusive to MSN, we expect ratings to grow even further. In this day and age, content needs to be multiplatform, and I am excited about our growing relationship with MSN." This year, a lead singer will be selected for a new band, Supernova, featuring famous musicians such as drummer Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses). Butch Walker, Rolling Stone's 2005 "Hot" Producer of the Year responsible for the breakout albums of Pink and Avril Lavigne, is slated to produce the band's first album. Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke will return as hosts, and each week the series will feature guest appearances by various celebrities and rock personalities. "We're delighted to again work with Mark Burnett and his team on 'Rock Star,'" said Rob Bennett, general manager of Entertainment and Video for MSN. "Millions of music fans will have the digital equivalent of an all-access pass to the backstage excitement and suspense of the band's search for a lead singer. We welcome this opportunity to deliver an extraordinarily rich and varied entertainment experience to our customers and to once again provide advertisers with multiple platforms to reach a very attractive audience." About Mark Burnett Productions Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) is a leading production company in the world of primetime non-fiction television. MBP revolutionized television with hits such as Eco-Challenge, Survivor, The Apprentice, The Contender and Rock Star. MBP also successfully reintroduced product placement as an integral part of each of its shows and has garnered a total of 33 Emmy nominations since 2001. Mark Burnett was listed as the #1 Most Valuable Player by TV Guide and in Time Magazine's Top 100 most influential people in the world today. About MSN Video MSN Video is the largest video-only streaming service on the Web, offering 41 channels of content that are updated multiple times a day and watched by more than 9 million unique users per month. In addition to streaming news, entertainment and sports video clips from more than 45 content partners, MSN Video presents a broad array of live events to online audiences worldwide. More than 50 top advertisers support MSN Video, which is available to consumers at no charge. MSN Video is available on the Web at http://msnvideo.com to consumers in the U.S. MSN Video is also live in Australia, Canada and Japan, and in Spanish in the U.S.; the service also is in beta testing in the U.K. Overall, MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. NOTE: Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.