AOL, Burnett strike "Gold Rush!"
Staff and agencies
31 January, 2006
By Chris Marlowe 9 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett and America Online are partnering on "Gold Rush!" an online show designed to engage viewers with a real-life treasure hunt that involves television, mobile and anywhere else audiences find their entertainment.
Short episodes -- less than five minutes long -- will be available on AOL.com. These will be the core element of a competition in which members of the public race to find stores of gold hidden in the United States, guided by clues that initially will be placed throughout such AOL properties as AOL.com, AIM.com, Moviefone.com and MapQuest.com but are expected to appear in other media, too.
"We‘re also tying in a television network," Burnett said. "We‘re having meetings, and a network will be chosen to hide clues in other programming."
Additional details of the production are still being worked out but will involve promotional and sponsorship partners along with advertising across television, broadband, print and mobile platforms.
Burnett said the cross-platform approach was just as important as the program‘s premise. "This is the biggest volume of eyeballs ever available in history," he said. "More people are on computers every day than sit down and watch TV at night. The Internet is about to become the next broadcast network."
The show‘s writing team will touch on themes loosely related to Freemasonry as they stay firmly rooted in pop culture, Burnett said.
"Maybe the name of Madonna‘s CD ‘Ray of Light‘ could lead you somewhere else," he said. "I don‘t want to give away possible clues, but there are all kinds of possible real-world tie-ins like that."
Word-of-mouth is an essential aspect of the show, he added. Burnett predicted that fans would form online communities, share clues and clips and send instant messages to each other as they strive to locate the gold.