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Attention: This Is Not A Test

 Broadway Interactive Group (BIG) Creates Groundbreaking
 LIVE Online Comedy Show For The Microsoft Network

NEW YORK, May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Broadway Interactive Group (BIG), the multimedia production arm of Broadway Video, Inc., is currently developing and producing a revolutionary live online comedy show exclusively for the Microsoft Corporation's Microsoft Network (MSN). Broadway Video, a leading entertainment production and postproduction company founded by Lorne Michaels, produces "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

The weekly show, entitled "This Is Not A Test," has an initial run of thirteen episodes, scheduled to premiere June 25th on MSN's channel 5 and air consecutive Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

"This Is Not A Test" pools the television background of Broadway Video with the technological wizardry of BIG. Broadway Video's team of writers, performers and producers supply the laughs while BIG brings comedy programming to a new medium by contributing their interactive development and production expertise. The show's unique design and engineering incorporate a multitude of original elements including animation, graphics, music and streaming audio.

BIG's greatest challenge was figuring out how to apply a television production model to a web-based environment. "Up to this point, timing hasn't been an issue on the web," says Bryan McCormick, President and Creative Director of BIG. "We essentially needed to set up software development as if it were TV production in order to deal with the issue of timing and be able to respond to the writers' vision." Whereas the web traditionally exhibits text and still photos, BIG wanted to present both action and interaction.

"This Is Not A Test," hosted by Marc Maron, will be webcast live from Catch A Rising Star in New York City. Maron, a stand-up comedian with an HBO special and over ten appearances on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" to his credit, will rally the live studio audience and MSN's web viewers to participate in the activity. The show will feature celebrity guests, comedy sketches, interactive games, recurring segments and realtime polling. BIG discovered a mechanism that will allow the audience to give feedback which will significantly shape the course of the show as it is occurring. Geoff Brookins, Technical Director for BIG says, "Technically, this comedy series will set a new standard from which other live comedy shows on the Internet will be judged."

BIG is integrating a variety of technologies in ways that have never been attempted to bring an engaging and entertaining live comedy show to the Web. BIG is pioneering the use of Microsoft's Netshow 2.0 to stream a live audio feed over the Internet. Their talented designers and animators are using Macromedia's Flash to create all of the visuals, which include the sort of full screen animation previously only seen on CD-ROM. In addition, BIG's programmers are writing custom code to synchronize the audio stream with the images on the screen. During the show, programmers will have a stockpile of original images already compressed, and "in the can," and will be able to send out these images instantly to illustrate topics covered by Marc Maron in real time. This process will get the images to viewers faster than traditional downloading which is important because as Tony Knight, Lead Designer for BIG explains, "In comedy, timing is everything. A joke isn't funny if it takes five minutes to deliver the punchline."

"This show blends the irreverence of pirate radio and guerrilla television," says Jim Biederman, Producer of "This Is Not A Test" and Vice President of Creative Affairs at Broadway Video. "Audiences will have the distinct feeling that they are participating in something new and very dangerous." Valerie Bronson, Producer for Microsoft adds, "You can expect to see the cutting edge humor that the MSN audience craves and expects, as well as some real innovations on the technical side."

BIG is also creating a website to complement the live show, which will reside on MSN. Each week the website, which includes profiles of upcoming shows and guests, will be updated with new information and animation. The website will contain weekly contests, an archive of highlights from previous shows, fun links that connect users to other sites related to the show's guests and topics, and "quick fix," a mixture of bits, stories and interactive games similar to those featured in the live show. Users will also be able to post comments on bulletin boards and participate in "Blab," a community forum, through e-mail. The website launches June 24th and is accessible to MSN subscribers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Other credits for BIG include: Bill Westcott, Engineer; James Novy, Designer; Jason Lucas, Designer; Barnes Tilney, Animator; Jenny Lim, Production Designer; Will Hadley, Sound Architect.

BIG is a division of Broadway Video, Inc., that develops interactive content for numerous platforms including CD-ROM and the World Wide Web. BIG works with advertising agencies, cable and broadcasting networks, entertainment, music and publishing companies, and Fortune 500 corporations.

For more information on BIG, check out our worldwide web site at, or contact Warren Levy, Director of Sales, at 212-333-0533, or by e-mail at

SOURCE Broadway Interactive Group
 -0- 5/30/97

/CONTACT: Nancy Brown of Broadway Interactive Group, 212-265-7600/

CO: Broadway Interactive Group; Broadway Video, Inc. ST: New York IN: ENT CPR MLM SU: PDT

AK -- NYF011 -- 3338 05/30/97 11:40 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 30, 1997
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