CBS and Microsoft WebTV Break Ground as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Becomes First Interactive Dramatic Series

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 23, 2001 — “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
will be the first dramatic series to have interactive programming content. The series was announced today at NATPE 2001 by Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television, and Bruce Leak, co-founder and president of Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc. In addition, CBS coverage of NCAA basketball will also be interactive for the first time under an ongoing agreement between CBS and Microsoft to bring a broad slate of interactivity to television.

the No. 1 new series of the season, will become interactive when it moves to a new day and time, Thursday, Feb. 1 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT), immediately following the premiere of
“Survivor: The Australian Outback.” Interactive NCAA basketball debuts in late February. The enhancements on both shows will be available only through interactive television systems such as Microsoft’s WebTV® Plus and UltimateTV® services and are scheduled to be available later this year through advanced cable set-top boxes offering service based on the Microsoft® TV Platform.

“With these interactive launches, CBS and Microsoft take an exciting step into television’s future,”
Moonves said.
“For the first time, viewers will be able to access interactive content for a popular dramatic series in a manner that will truly enrich their viewing experience. And I can’t think of a more appropriate series to start with than ‘CSI’ — its compelling and complex crime stories are tailor-made for turning the viewer into a novice forensic investigator. As we move forward in our agreement with Microsoft, it is our mission to find new and exciting ways for viewers to enjoy CBS sports and entertainment programming.”

“The announcement today of ‘CSI’ and the NCAA college basketball tournament signifies CBS’ commitment to provide additional value to its viewers by allowing them to participate more deeply with its programming,”
Leak said.
“‘CSI’ will lead the way in breaking new ground for interactivity by combining the entertainment value of a TV show with the personal involvement of an interactive game. Interactive NCAA basketball will put up-to-the minute stats and information at the viewer’s fingertips.”

The CBS enhancements represent a unique approach to interactive television. The interactivity of
will be a natural extension of the television show, providing viewers with detailed information about forensic tools and techniques through the CBS Insider feature, polling viewers for their opinions or testing their knowledge of the show with a
exam. In addition, viewers will be asked to join the
team to help the show’s characters solve the crimes. By registering and getting a screen name, a viewer will become a CSI Cadet. By answering questions correctly each week, viewers can increase their rank until they achieve CSI Level 3. Viewers who reach CSI Level 3 may be eligible for special prizes and behind-the-scenes information.

Among the series’ other enhancements will be Crime Notes: key clues for each episode; The Crime Lab: an archive of detailed tools, techniques and research used by investigators to solve crimes; Personal Files: dossiers on the show’s characters; and Case Files: highlights of prior investigations.

NCAA basketball broadcasts will be interactive beginning in late February. The initial broadcasts will include interactive features such as a detailed real-time sports ticker, sports trivia and polling questions. In the later rounds of the tournament, the interactive content will be expanded to include real-time player and team stats, team rankings and conference standings.

Microsoft and CBS have teamed to provide a broad slate of new interactive television programming this season. CBS launched this interactive venture with its broadcast of NCAA college football this past fall. (Over 20 percent of Microsoft’s set-top service subscribers tuned in to the enhancements.)

About CBS

CBS Television comprises the CBS Television Network — with more than 200 owned and affiliated stations reaching virtually every television home in the United States; the Network’s programming arms — CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports; and CBS Enterprises, a global leader in distribution.

About WebTV Networks

WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV Classic Internet service, the WebTV Plus interactive service and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of television services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.

WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, WebTV and UltimateTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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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