AOL Signs 'Apprentice' Producer

It will air reality show impresario Mark Burnett's program, 'Gold Rush.'
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Time Warner's

(TWX)

America Online unit today said it would air reality show impresario Mark Burnett's program

Gold Rush

on its site later this year.

Gold Rush

will follow people around the U.S. searching for hidden treasure, the New York-based company said in a statement. Clues to the treasure hunt will be placed on AOL's Web sites, such as AOL.com and Moviefone.com. AOL declined to provide a specific date for the show's debut.

AOL and other Internet sites are trying to cash in on the exploding popularity of Web-based video.

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

has hired comedian Bill Maher to host a talk show. Last week,

IAC/InterActiveCorp

(IACI)

named veteran television executive Michael Jackson to oversee its efforts to create, produce and distribute programming.

"The world is changing and the Internet is about to become the new broadcast network," says Burnett, creator of

Survivor

,

The Apprentice

and

Rock Star

, in a statement. "With the volume of people able to watch content on their computers between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it could very well become the new primetime."

This is the latest move AOL has undertaken to expand its lineup of original programs in order to entice users to its site. Last summer, AOL won kudos for its broadcast of the Live 8 concerts, which many consider to be a watershed moment in the Web's development as an entertainment medium.

Advertisers are showing a growing interest in Web-based video because it encourages users to linger on a site, making them more engaged with the content.

While Internet video is a bright spot for AOL, the company still needs to reverse the mass defections of its dial-up customers. Last week, AOL announced plans to offer broadband service with

BellSouth

(BLS)

,

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

and Time Warner Cable.

Shares of Time Warner, which also owns

CNN

,

Sports Illustrated

and Warner Bros. film studios, rose 16 cents to $17.45.