WSJ: More Reality TV Type Programming Might Be Coming to Yahoo

The Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Delaney and Brooks Barnes article (subscription not required): Yahoo Hopes to Make Network Flop a Net Hit, takes a look at how Y has plans (it’s not official yet) to take a reality show “concept” that was “abandoned” by ABC Television and produce it for a web audience.

The program is named “The Runner.”

The “Runner” venture — which focuses on the pursuit of a fugitive traveling between secret locations around the U.S. — comes amid high expectations for Yahoo’s efforts to reinvent the entertainment that people consume online and concerns that its Media Group has broken little new ground since Lloyd Braun took over the unit in November 2004. For this project, the company is working on a cross between a narrative video production and an online game: Consumers will be able to view regularly updated video clips of roughly three to five minutes in length through Yahoo’s site and try to solve online puzzles about the fugitive’s real-world location.

Lloyd Braun, head of the Yahoo Media Group, was previously a backer of the show when he was chairman of ABC Television Entertainment Group.

The article adds that the concept for “The Runner” was created by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck who have been working with Yahoo for about six months to bring the program to Yahoo. You’ll also learn that reality show guru Mark Burnett is also involved in the project.

Six months ago, Yahoo paid to option the concept and recruited Mr. Burnett, they say. Since then, the involved parties have been working on how to adapt “The Runner” to the Web and integrate it with Yahoo’s existing offerings, such as instant messaging, online maps and search. They believe they have worked out the biggest logistical and insurance issues.

Delaney and Barnes report that Burnett is also working with AOL on other “unannonuced” Internet projects.

It sounds like we might be seeing the web as the future home to reality shows. Oh joy! 😉

Finally, the article includes a chart of some of the Yahoo Media Group 2005 initiatives like Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone and the stream of Howard Stern’s last terrestrial radio broadcast before going to Sirius satellite radio.

If reality programming and Yahoo sound familiar they should. About a month ago Danny posted about plans for Yahoo’s “Wow House” reality program.

Also, in June 2005 I blogged about Yahoo giving new life to a music program, Pepsi Smash, that did not do well on over-the-air television using on-demand video streams.

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