Interactive TV Lineup on Tap

Friday, September 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Why should Americans limit themselves to watching television, when they could be interacting with it instead?

That's the question posed by CBS Television and Microsoft WebTV Networks Thursday in announcing plans for the upcoming television season to pair network programs with simutaneous interactive services that might poll viewers or allow them to chat with actors featured on the shows.

CBS will contribute 500 hours of programming, including variety shows, movies and sports broadcasts to the partnership and will promote the interactive service on its network.

That service will be available to viewers who subscribe to Microsoft WebTV, provided through a set-top box that also allows Internet access.

``This alliance will move the reality of interactive television to a new level and as a result will help CBS offer our viewers new and exciting ways to experience our programming,'' said Leslie Mooves, the network's president and CEO, in a written statement.

The companies said their partnership would create the first interactive programming of comedy and dramatic series. Viewers who subscribe to the service will be able to tap into a range of information while watching programs, including cast biographies and sports-related information.

``We're pushing the envelope for television enhancements,'' said Joe Poletto, vice president of the Network Media Grou at WebTV Networks.