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MySpace tackles entertainment news with 'Celebrity' site

Social-networking site has taken cues from Entertainment Weekly and to create its new celebrity-focused portal.

MySpace has unveiled a new MySpace Celebrity site devoted to entertainment culture, which is slated to launch in full on the News Corp.-owned social network on Thursday. The portal will feature news (including gossip aggregated from People magazine's Web site), blogs, and multimedia content pertaining to already-big and fast-rising names in acting, music, comedy, sports, and Page Six notoriety.

MySpace already operates several other 'channels' of aggregated content, including the Impact political channel and an upcoming casual gaming page.

Content on MySpace Celebrity goes beyond gossip, encompassing news about celebrities' charitable endeavors and behind-the-scenes antics on the job. Perhaps most useful, MySpace Celebrity has an index of official celebrity MySpace profiles--more than 300 at launch. As many avid MySpace users know, fake and unofficial celebrity profile pages are a dime a dozen on the social network, and this ideally can create a way to weed those out.

"MySpace Celebrity is Hollywood's new home page," MySpace President and co-founder Tom Anderson said in a statement from the company. "Celebrities have been using MySpace since the site's launch and it's a natural extension for us to now offer them an aggregated channel where they can be in control of their own image...We want MySpace users to connect with celebrities in the same way that they do with musicians."

That's a lofty goal. Long before the News Corp. buyout, MySpace gained heavy buzz as a hub for discovering independent music, and it still continues that role today. There's not quite a perfect analogy to be drawn between an independent band eager to showcase its talent and an outlet for Jessica Alba to promote her latest movie.

Besides, the entertainment news niche is already fully saturated online with the likes of Perez Hilton, Popsugar, the online outlets of magazines like Entertainment Weekly, and the AOL-owned grew so big on the Web that it turned to network television.

On the other hand, MySpace has shown that it knows entertainment. As the social-networking leader still struggles to catch up to smaller rival Facebook in terms of technology and networking tools, branding itself as a central point for Web-based pop culture has helped differentiate it. And so far, that's proven at least relatively successful.