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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

Agarn and O'Rourke Online
With commercials, too!

4. Ad Infinitum

America Online bounced back in a big way this week.

Just days after the Time Warner (TWX - Get Report) unit suffered a strategic setback , AOL delivered an on-demand programming windfall of mind-blowing proportions.

Viewers everywhere wept tears of joy as AOL and corporate sibling Warner Bros. unveiled plans to team up on a broadband television service called In2TV . The free service will give viewers unfettered access to the episodes of Chico and the Man, Eight Is Enough and F Troop that one and all have been crying out for. The companies also promise interactive quizzes, games, polls and contests, if you can imagine. And best of all, the shows will have commercials!

Monday's announcement was enough to soothe the pain AOL was surely feeling only last Thursday, when Net giant Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) bowed out of Time Warner's slow-motion auction of a stake in AOL. Time Warner has by now fielded feelers from Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), Google (GOOG) and Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) as big players jockey for position with Internet advertisers.

Of course, all the big communications players are talking a big game nowadays about on-demand video. But at Time Warner, "we are enabling Web users to experience and interact with television programming in an entirely new way," said Kevin Conroy, executive vice president, AOL Media Networks. "Visitors will be able to program their own personal network, making it a TV lover's dream come true," added Eric Frankel, president, Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.

A network of nothing but 20-year-old Spenser for Hire reruns? Well, that is a dream come true.

Dumb-o-Meter score: 80. Next up on our wishlist for AOL: a partnership with Telkonet (TKO), the broadband outfit that recently filed its quarterly report a minute late because it "was not able to connect to the Internet in timely manner."

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