Amazon Webcasts From The Fishbowl

    January 19, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Bill Maher and will work together to produce 12 episodes of a 30-minute weekly online show to promote books, movies, and music, all available for easy purchase through the Amazon web site.

The premiere of “Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher” won’t be broadcast from the Georgia Aquarium, but taped at the Sundance Film Festival, to debut with a June 1 launch. The Wall Street Journal quoted Kathy Savitt, Amazon’s vice president of strategic communications, on the initiative: “We are very dedicated to that mission of helping connect artists to new audiences. If customers connect with the artists, there will be product sales.”

The format announced by Amazon follows the classic style of late-night programming going back to Johnny Carson: an opening monologue by Maher, interviews with guests, and a musical performance. The guests will be people like authors, directors, and actors with products on Amazon’s site.

Three content areas, books, music, and movies, delivered big for Amazon. The Journal stated that nearly three-fourths of Amazon’s $1.86 billion revenue came from the trio. This happened despite Amazon’s broadened line of product categories and partnerships that have expanded the site greatly from its debut as a bookseller offering substantial discounts.

Amazon discussed the premiere episode in a statement, noting that highlights from the Sundance debut would appear on Amazon in advance of the June 1 series launch:

Maher’s guests for the Sundance preview show include musician Rob Thomas and bestselling author Stephen King, as well as writer Armistead Maupin and actress Toni Collette from “The Night Listener,” a Sundance debut film. King’s latest novel, “Cell,” is scheduled for release on January 24. The show’s theme song, which was written and recorded by Amazon customer-favorite musician John Hiatt, will also debut at the Sundance preview.

“Amazon has included me in an opportunity to provide top-shelf television-style programming live on the world’s computer screens,” said Maher. “To hold forth with the industry’s very best actors, directors, musicians, authors — I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.