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Ashton Kutcher’s Live Webvids: Genius New Format or Celeb Desperation?

Ashton Kutcher was our surprising business story/eyecandy magazine cover subject for December, and here he is in the news again. This time it’s for a new type of live Web-cast “TV” show, premiering today. It might be genius. Just might.

Ashton Kutcher

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Ashton Kutcher was our surprising business story/eyecandy magazine cover subject for December, and here he is in the news again. This time it’s for a new type of live Web-cast “TV” show, premiering today. It might be genius. Just might.

What you’ll be seeing if you tune in to Kutcher’s Katalyst Films Web site Katalyst HQ today is a live 30-minute unscripted talk-show, hosted by Ahston himself, and drawing on his network of celeb contacts to make for interesting guests. Live is the key bit–this is new for Katalyst, and a key part of the new experiment. Of course, this is the forever-young Kutcher, so it doesn’t stop at a mere talk-show format. Ohoho no–there’s also going to be guest spots from bands, “hilarious pre-taped segments,” and, for some inscrutable reason, “cut-aways to exotic animals.” Let’s hope that includes Lady Gaga getting Punk’d with a surprise lion in her SUV.

Hmmm. If that portrait of the show doesn’t tickle your pickle, then you may be in the minority: Thanks to Kutcher’s re-invention as an Internet/Twitterati celeb instead of a more traditional successful TV and film actor, his company’s online Web clips at KatalystHQ via Facebook have been gathering audiences in numbers that Katalyst itself describes as “cable-like.” (CW-like? or Daily Show-like?) When the show goes out at 8 p.m. ET tonight, expect a flurry of Tweets and status updates from @aplusk and his Mrs. Demi Kutcher … and a social media explosion across the Internet. We don’t know who tonight’s guests are, but in the future there’s going to be a Kardashian sister and the cast of Jersey Shore, as the preview clip shows:

So here’s the thing: Katalyst is, if the viewer numbers are reliable, a massively successful enterprise already. Kutcher, with his legion of 4 million+ Twitter followers is simply going to make the new show a success, and you can bet it’ll get better as it attracts yet more followers. And where Ashton treads, you know there will be many more people following in his footsteps, eager to attract an audience and page views in the hope of earning advertising cash. Is this the beginning of a new TV show format–the Twitter-and-Facebook-pushed social net show?

You know, it just could be. Though the format really needs a much better name. Writing about TwitVid yesterday, I suggested that Twitter-linked Web clips might turn into their own mini-broadcasting format, something akin to video podcasts, and Ashton’s effort is just a more sophisticated, privately-hosted version of the same thing. It seems we should keep watching @aplusk and see what’s the next clever step he makes.

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[Via Mashable]

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