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MSN and Endemol launch interactive online thriller

LONDON - MSN is airing a new online sci-fi drama created by Endemol that is designed to encourage users to interact with Microsoft's range of products.

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Starring Pirates of the Caribbean actor David Schofield, 'Kirill' is a five-week mini-series about a besieged working scientist at CERN, the location of the Large Hadron Collider, who becomes involved in a plot to save humanity.

The 'Kirill' storyline will be weaved between a number of MSN platforms including Vista, Live Search, Messenger and the social network site Spaces in a series of blogs, images, video and audio files, as well as "secret websites".

MSN will air two episodes each week, each three minutes long, for a total of five weeks.

Users will have to download MSN's new Silverlight programme to watch the series on the MSN website, but there are also clips posted on YouTube.

Peter Bale, MSN executive producer, said: "Video is central to our strategy and with 'Kirill' we're putting ourselves firmly on the map.

"What makes it unique is the interoperability of the show with Microsoft's range of products and services. Not only can users find out more by solving clues, but they can also watch the show in high definition by downloading Silverlight."

Pure Grass Films, a UK-based web agency, co-produced the series, having previously worked on zombie comedy film 'Beyond the Rave' on MySpaceTV.

Pasa Mustafa, head of digital studios at Endemol UK, said: "We're thrilled to be part of MSN UK's first ever original production. 'Kirill' is a unique concept bringing together a wide range of styles and techniques, from high production drama to blogging and messaging.

"This is an action-packed sci-fi thriller and I have no doubt that MSN's audience is going to love it."

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