September 9, 2004 9:05 AM PDT

Yahoo hired to host 'Apprentice' Web site

You're hired.

Internet portal Yahoo announced Thursday that it will produce, host and sell advertising for the official Web site of the "The Apprentice," the reality TV show in which contestants battle to win a job working for real-estate mogul Donald Trump.

Under the agreement with Mark Burnett Productions, producer of the show, Yahoo will host the site and manage all online advertising during the program's second season, which is slated to kick off on NBC on Thursday night, and its third season. The site went live earlier Thursday. During the first season of the show, NBC relied on a site it hosted itself.

Yahoo said advertising campaigns on the "Apprentice" site will include paid sponsorships, broadband video ads and banner ads.

The announcement is an extension of a previously announced deal between the two companies, whereby Yahoo is running "Apprentice"-related promotions across its HotJobs career site, including a special site for Trump wannabes hoping to apply for future seasons of the show.

The Internet portal said it will feature additional "Apprentice" content throughout its network of sites and hinted that it will announce other collaborations with Mark Burnett Productions, which also produces "Survivor" and "The Restaurant."

The "Apprentice" content will span six of Yahoo's Web offerings: Yahoo TV, Yahoo Messenger, HotJobs, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Finance and the company's Launch music portal.

"We chose to work with Yahoo because of its tremendous reach on the Internet, as well as its ability to develop a comprehensive and entertaining user experience," Mark Burnett said in a statement.

Each week, the "Apprentice" site will offer roughly 40 minutes of video footage not shown in the TV episodes but rather edited specifically for online audiences. Yahoo said the content will include scenes of various tasks that contestants are given in order to prove their professional value to Trump and his assistants. Other site features will include a tour of the candidates' residence in Trump International Hotel & Tower, contestant bios and episode recaps.

In addition, one of the series' most notorious participants, Web entrepreneur Sam Solovey, who crashed and burned quickly during the show's first season, will pen a weekly column with play-by-play commentary of the show.

Yahoo has also extended the "Apprentice" theme to its instant-messenging software, creating a custom background for the application, as well as an audio clip of Trump's ubiquitous "You're fired" catch phrase for subscribers to direct at one another.

NBC says an average of 20.7 million people watched each week of the show's first season, which ended earlier this year. It also estimates that 40.1 million viewers watched some of the show's finale. The broadcasting company has labeled "Apprentice" its best-performing new series in the last five years.

 

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