Mark Burnett -- the pioneering television reality-show producer of such hits as "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" -- is at it again. But, now, Burnett plans to focus his efforts online first and foremost -- and, just in time for next year's Presidential election, he plans to use MySpace.com to audition contestants for a proposed television show called "Independent" which focuses on a mock political campaign and the search for the next great politician. MySpace users would essentially "run for office" by submitting videos of themselves and stumping online, with the top 100 virtual candidates making it to the actual television series and with the eventual "winner" receiving $1 million (rather than winning any actual public office). MySpace's participation will be overseen by Jeff Berman, a former Capitol Hill staffer, who indicated that the new show "will be influenced by mainstream politics" but further indicated that he believed "mainstream politics will be influenced by 'Independent.'"
In any event, online video will be front and center as a "discovery" vehicle for new talent -- something that I have written about extensively in the past. Yet again, the power of personal video and the Internet.