Endemol, maker of Channel 4's Big Brother, and EA (Electronic Arts) are to launch a virtual world where people can take part in their favourite TV-reality gameshows. Perhaps predictably the project is known as 'Virtual Me'. It will allow Second Life-style avatars to compete online in versions of 'Fame Academy', 'Big Brother' and - saints preserve us - 'Deal or No Deal'.

(I am physically shivering at the concept of a virtual Noel Edmonds slinking around my PC like a diabolic, bearded version of the Microsoft help paperclip, being creepy and forcing the unwaged to open red boxes. Having said that, 'Fame Academy' can only be improved by the removal of the, um, 'personalities'.)

Endemol and EA said the site would be launched "in the coming months" and it was a concept that bridged the divide between traditional TV and video games.

"With Virtual Me we are at the forefront of a new, hybrid form of entertainment that takes gaming beyond the console," said EA's Gerhard Florin.

"Endemol is a great partner to help us bring together the best of TV and video games for an offering that can appeal to mass market audiences and change the face of entertainment."

It can, of course, only be fair for geeks to get a crack at Big Brother's peculiar brand of fame (although I imagine that the avatars may be of the big-breasted airhead variety). And I feel the idea should be taken further - why not combine Big Brother with a first-person shooter and let me work off some of my, er, issues with vacuous self-serving fame whores?

A lie down, I think.


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