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AOL offering 5 online TV shows to preempt networks

NEW YORK -- AOL stepped up its bid to capture advertising dollars spent on television by showcasing five new interactive programs a month before broadcast networks unveil their fall lineups.

The online company hosted more than 500 advertising executives and media planners at a First Look showcase yesterday -- what chief executive Randy Falco described as a "coming out party for AOL" as a major online advertising platform.

The First Look event, at the corporate headquarters of AOL LLC parent Time Warner Inc., comes as AOL seeks to increase its advertising revenue to make up for rapid declines in its legacy Internet access business.

AOL disclosed ad-supported initiatives scheduled to launch this fall or early next year: a site where users can submit photos, video, and stories for use on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and three games, including a second season of reality TV master Mark Burnett's "Gold Rush." A fifth program, a game based on the upcoming "Shrek the Third" movie, is to launch April 26.

Major networks typically disclose their fall schedules in May.

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