The Microsoft Network and Broadway Video Launch First Live Online Comedy Show

REDMOND, Wash., June 25, 1997 — Following in the footsteps of television’s legendary
“Saturday Night Live,” MSN™ , The Microsoft Network and Broadway Video, producer of
“Saturday Night Live,”
today announced that their groundbreaking live online comedy show,
“This Is Not a Test,”
is premiering tonight at 10 p.m. EDT with special guest Conan O’Brien.

Available exclusively on MSN, the third-largest online service,
“This Is Not a Test”
is a live weekly comedy show on MSN (Channel 5) that combines the excitement of live performance with the interactivity of the Internet to deliver a compelling new experience to members. Cybercast from New York’s Catch a Rising Star comedy club every Wednesday at 10 p.m. (Eastern), and hosted by comedian Marc Maron, the show rallies a live studio audience as well as online members of MSN to participate in live comedy sketches, interactive games and real-time polling with celebrity guests.

No stranger to late-night, Marc Maron is a stand-up comedian who has appeared on
“Late Show With David Letterman,”
has hosted several episodes of
“Later With Greg Kinnear”
and is a frequent guest on
“Late Night With Conan O’Brien.”

“‘This Is Not a Test’ represents another exciting extension of MSN programming for our members,”
said Bob Bejan, executive producer for MSN.
“The idea of bringing together our online community with a talented company of performers in a live setting is innovative and fresh. This show combines the best of the Web as a medium and the best of the live performance experience. We’re thrilled about it.”

In comedy, timing is everything. A joke isn’t funny if the comedian takes five minutes to deliver the punch line. To ensure users get the punch line when the studio audience does and to keep the show moving on their PCs, MSN and Broadway Video are pooling their television, multimedia and software expertise to bring members of MSN an engaging and entertaining live comedy show.

“The challenge for us was to apply a television model to an interactive show and deal with the timing issue to realize the writers’ vision,”
said Bryan McCormick, president and creative director of Broadway Interactive Group, the multimedia production and development arm of Broadway Video Inc.

The result for the show’s cyber-audience is an experience that involves full-screen animation, graphics, music and synchronized streaming audio. A polling mechanism will allow the audience to give feedback live during the show that will shape the course of the live broadcast. In addition, members can use live chats to ask questions during the show, or vie for the opportunity to call in and speak directly to Maron and his guests.

By clicking MSN Channel 5, members can visit
“This Is Not a Test”
24 hours a day at ( , where the excitement, information and fun are available all week long. Relive archived shows, get new information and animation as well as quick fixes of humor – bits, stories and interactive games.

Broadway Video Background

Broadway Video was founded in 1979 by Lorne Michaels, seven-time Emmy Award winning creator and producer of Saturday Night Live. It has since become one of the largest independent production companies in New York and boasts impressive editing facilities, sound design and a multimedia development division.

MSN Background

The award-winning MSN is the third-largest online service in the world, offering valuable services, rich communications and communities, and compelling entertainment on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest forums and bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web shows as the Microsoft Ò Encarta Ò, multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia™ travel service, Star Trek: Continuum Ò, Disney’s Daily Blast™ and Disney’s™ , the Slate™ online magazine, the CarPoint™ online automotive service, the Microsoft Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at ( . Additional press information is available at ( .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, MSN, Encarta, Expedia, Slate and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Star Trek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.

Disney’s Daily Blast and are trademarks of Disney Online.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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