Discovery, AOl team up for 'Greatest American' initiative

MUMBAI: Who is the greatest American ever? Discovery Channel US and America Online have teamed up to answer that question with a campaign that combines on air and online features.

The campaign, kicked off a couple of days ago, gives Americans a chance to determine who will be named as the Greatest American, by inviting them to submit nominations and vote on web site.

The initiative will proceed in this manner. By 1 February Americans can nominate up to five individuals they believe most influenced the way they think, work and live. The top 100 nominees will be announced in March.

March through May, Discovery will provide AOL with packaged biographies of top vote-getters arranged by category, such as politicians, sports figures, news personalities and celebrities, that will be available for viewing online. In addition, Discovery will provide AOL with "person on the street" interviews with ordinary Americans as they share their thoughts on who the "Greatest American" is and why.

In May Discovery will then premiere the first episode of the Greatest American series, profiling a selection from the top 100 nominees based on online submissions. Viewers can then cast votes online to pare down the list, and each subsequent show will profile leading vote-getters, with the eventual No.

1 choice profiled in the final episode in June. The programmes will highlight the candidates' lives, and will feature interviews with celebrities and national figures who will discuss the US' top choices.

Discovery US executive VP, GM Jane Root said, "This opportunity is providing both of our companies with a perfect partnership. AOL is the world's leader in interactive services and Internet technologies, and Discovery Channel is America's largest cable network. Together, we can tap into each other's strengths for an inventive series to generate sustained interest and participation."

AOL executive VP programming, properties and productions Jim Bankoff said, "This collaboration with Discovery aligns perfectly with our goal to provide compelling original online content, while also offering a forum where Americans can make their voices heard."

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