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1/19/2006
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Amazon To Launch Video Show Hosted By Bill Maher

Called "Amazon Fishbowl," the 30-minute program will also feature live performances from musicians and is scheduled to launch June 1.

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said it planned to launch in June its first online entertainment show hosted by comedian Bill Maher, who will interview authors, directors and actors.

Called "Amazon Fishbowl," the 30-minute program, which would also feature live performances from musicians, is scheduled to launch June 1 on the online retail giant's homepage. United Parcel Service is sponsoring the show, which will stream live for 12 Thursday nights during the summer.

The purpose of the show is to interest shoppers in buying more books, CDs and DVDs.

"'Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher' has a simple, yet powerful mission -- to help our customers discover new books, films, and music, and to help the creators of these works find new audiences," Kathy Savitt, Amazon.com vice president for strategic communications, content, and initiatives, said in a statement.

Amazon.com plans to preview the show this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival and offer highlights on its site beginning Jan. 24. Maher's guests on the Sundance preview show include musician Rob Thomas, authors Stephen King and Armistead Maupin, and actress Toni Collette.

Online video is hot on the Web, both as an attraction for visitors and as a vehicle for advertisers. The major entertainment portals have invested heavily in video, including Yahoo Inc., America Online Inc., and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.

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