MSN bows gossip site Wonderwall

Thu Feb 5, 2009 7:12am EST

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The competitive world of celebrity-gossip Web sites got more crowded Thursday with the launch of Wonderwall, MSN's answer to popular online destinations like TMZ and OMG.

The Microsoft-owned portal turned to production company BermanBraun to create the site, which will aggregate much of the entertainment-oriented content already dispersed throughout MSN Network into one new brand.

Many of the BermanBraun staffers who worked on the site have experience in this category, having toiled on OMG, a partnership between Yahoo and NBC Universal newsmagazine "Access Hollywood." BermanBraun principal Lloyd Braun, who founded the firm with Gail Berman, served as chief of Yahoo Media Group.

"We looked at the same issues we had when we were at Yahoo in the formation of Wonderwall," Braun said. "But we took it to the next generation of design and programing."

Wonderwall will be led by Alex Flagg, founding editor of VH1's "Best Week Ever" blog. MSN general manager Rob Bennett characterized its tone as a middle ground between the celebrity-friendly nature of People and the scathing nature of PerezHilton. "We'll try to be edgy but respectful," he said.

MSN and BermanBraun first announced their deal to create the site in June.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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