Amazon, Maher to swim in 'Fishbowl'
New 30-minute entertainment Web program will make its debut June 1, exclusively on Amazon.com.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher is teaming up with Amazon.com to launch a weekly live 30-minute Web program called "Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher" that will debut June 1.
The plan is for 12 episodes that will feature Maher and guests from the worlds of books, music and film. The show, which will stream on Amazon's homepage Thursday night, is produced and distributed exclusively by Amazon (Research).
Highlights of the premiere will be shown starting Jan. 24 on Amazon's Web site. The premiere will be filmed at the Sundance Film Festival, which opens today in Utah.
"'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 communications, said in a statement.
"We believe that Bill Maher's interviews with some of the world's most renowned and up-and-coming artists and entertainers will offer customers unique insight into the motivations and inspirations behind the books, films and music they love," she added.
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.
"Amazon has included me in an opportunity to provide top-shelf television-style programming live on the world's computer screens," Maher said in a statement. "To hold forth with the industry's very best actors, directors, musicians, authors -- I'm thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this."
In a report Thursday, The Wall Street Journal said the new series with Maher, who hosted the company's 10-year anniversary Internet broadcast last July, is another step in Amazon's fledgling digital-content strategy as well as an effort to draw more Web shoppers.
The company already displays digital content such as reviews and excerpts from books, music and movies alongside product information.
For the past two years, Amazon has also experimented with offering its content in different digital formats, such as original short films and videos showing celebrities delivering Amazon products to customers, the newspaper said.
Though Amazon sells goods varying from kitchen equipment to gourmet food, its business is still heavily dependent on the sale of books, music and movies. In the third quarter, those media products generated nearly three-quarters of Amazon's total revenue of $1.86 billion, the Journal said.