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The largest Internet retailer will start making a 30-minute program called "Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher" in June. Guests will include authors Stephen King and Armistead Maupin, along with musician Rob Thomas and actress Toni Collette. Highlights of the show will be offered on Amazon's site Jan. 24.
"'Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher' has a simple, yet powerful mission -- to help customers discover new books, films and music, and to help the creators of these works find new audiences," says Kathy Scott, Amazon's vice president for strategic communications and initiatives, in a statement.
Since 2003, Maher has hosted "Real Time with Bill Maher'' on HBO. Before that he was the host of the show "Politically Incorrect'' on ABC and Comedy Central. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Maher got into hot water for saying the U.S. military acted like "cowards'' in how they fought the war on terrorism. He later clarified his remarks to say that he meant to criticize politicians and not members of the armed forces, according to Eonline.com.
Amazon's program, which will be sponsored by
, is yet another example of the exploding use of Internet video, which is attracting growing interest from both users and advertisers.
Shares of Seattle-based Amazon rose 3 cents to $44.35 in premarket trading. The company is expected to release fourth-quarter earnings next month.