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Ventimiglia Directing Web 'Mall' Series

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NEW YORK (THR) -- "Heroes" star Milo Ventimiglia is directing a new Web comedy series for American Eagle Outfitters called "It's a Mall World" that will premiere on MTV and in AE stores in the form of three-minute "minisodes." The full five-minute episodes will run exclusively on ae.com starting in August.

The 12-episode series, written by Adam Green ("Hatchet") and produced by Divide Pictures co-founder Russ Cundiff, will feature an American Eagle store along with a fictitious independent record store, lingerie shop and juice bar. It is the first original series from American Eagle Outfitters.

"We hope that 'It's a Mall World' is a source of entertainment and fun for our customers and in the long run creates an emotional connection with the brand, and that has real value for us," AE spokeswoman Jani Strand said. "We find that creating this kind of content increases traffic to our stores, increases sales over time and traffic to the Web site as well."

The minisodes will premiere on MTV during "The Real World: Sydney," set to air in the summer, as part of AE's overall media buy with the network. "Our audience is always looking to us for new entertainment experiences, from hit shows to content partnerships, that extend to both on-air and online," said John Shea, executive vp of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group. "American Eagle and Divide Pictures are helping us deliver on that notion, and we are excited to work closely with our partners to once again change the mold to deliver a new experience for our audience."

The webisodes will air on ae.com at 8 p.m. Thursday nights starting Aug. 2.

"Mall World" explores the lives and relationships of two record store employees, a greeter/salesgirl at the American Eagle store across the way, a "slightly psychotic" girl who works in the fictional lingerie store Glorious Chest and a "bad-boy poseur from the requisite mall juice bar," American Eagle said.

The ensemble cast includes Sam Huntington ("Superman Returns"), Dianna Agron ("Shark"), Amanda Loncar ("The Loop"), Deon Richmond ("Hatchet") and Eddie Hargitay ("Neutral Ground"). Ventimiglia starred as Rocky's son Robert Jr. in last year's "Rocky Balboa."

In another MTV integrated marketing partnership announced Wednesday, the network partnered with San Francisco-based Delivery Agent to launch two new online stores where fans can purchase clothing and accessories featured on MTV's "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" and Logo's "Noah's Arc."

The sites -- www.seenonmtv.com and www.seenonlogo.com -- enable viewers to shop for their favorite items by cast member, category brand or episode. The "Hills" section of the MTV site features more than 500 products seen on episodes from the show's first two seasons. The "Laguna Beach" area offers more than 350 products for sale.

Members of MTV's virtual worlds Virtual Hills and Virtual Laguna Beach also will be able to dress their avatars in branded clothing and then purchase the real products via the MTV Web store.

"MTV and Logo viewers are passionately connected to their favorite shows and characters, and they aspire to live the lifestyle they see on-air," said Jeff Yapp, executive vp franchise development for the Music and Logo Group. "With Delivery Agent, we are helping our viewers get the apparel, accessories and other cool stuff that are at the root of their personal identity. And in a unique twist, we're making it possible for our viewers to extend that expression to their virtual lives so that their virtual alter egos can adopt the same look in-world."

Both sites also will feature "shopisodes," Delivery Agent's video platform that allows viewers to watch portions of a show and immediately purchase products they see in the clips.

In addition to the MTV and Logo shopping sites, MTV Nets and Delivery Agent said they are exploring additional sites for MTV Networks' brands in the coming year, including VH1 and CMT.


Gail Schiller writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

For more news from The Hollywood Reporter, click here.

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