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NBC, ad agency to create product-focused shows

NBC Universal Omnicom
Actress Rosario Dawson is seen during the production of a public service announcement last year. Dawson will star in a science-fiction series from a newly formed NBC Universal production unit that has teamed up with an advertising agency to create programs around sponsors' products.Damian Dovarganes / ASSOCIATED PRESS
/ Source: The Associated Press

A newly formed NBC Universal production unit is teaming up with an advertising agency to create programs around sponsors' products, the company said.

NBC Universal Digital Studio will work with a division of Omnicom Group Inc. to create programs that help advertisers sell their products, the entertainment giant announced in a statement Thursday. The programming will be broadcast on NBC Universal's digital properties, such as Web sites.

"We are proactively working with our clients, the advertisers, to deliver compelling content to our audiences, wherever they are," NBC entertainment chief Ben Silverman said in the statement.

Digital Studio's first productions, which will premiere this summer, are a science-fiction series starring Rosario Dawson called "Gemini Division" and a quirky comedy about a college-aged zombie called "Woke Up Dead," said NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.

(Msnbc.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)

Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among the first brands involved with the development of "Gemini Division," the statement said.

The collaboration between NBC and Omnicom offers "a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs," Omnicom Media Group Digital chief executive Matt Spiegel said.

NBC Universal spokesman Joe Libonati did not immediately return a phone message seeking additional details early Friday.