'70s, '80s shows to be shrunk for Net

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While Lost fans wait years to get simple answers to their many questions, Web users will soon be able to see if Tony and Angela ever hook up in just a few hours.

Sony Pictures Television is taking some of its old television shows, such as Who's the Boss?, and condensing them into easy-to-swallow three- to five-minute run times for the Internet. The programs will initially air on Sony's Minisode Network, an ad-supported Web site set to launch this summer through MySpace.com. Sony also hopes the programs will be picked up elsewhere on the Web and eventually play on mobile phones.

And what spawned this idea of bite-sized television? YouTube, of course.

"We looked at our library and asked how we could fit this content into where the world is going in terms of watching entertainment on the Web," said Steve Mosko, Sony Pictures Television president. "We thought this was the way to apply that logic of YouTube viewing to scripted drama that is fun and interesting."

Along with Who's the Boss?, Sony will attempt to shrink Natalie and the gang from Facts of Life and further miniaturize Tattoo and others from Fantasy Island. Other programs pegged for condensing include Silver Spoons, What's Happening!!, Diff'rent Strokes, The Partridge Family, Charlie's Angels, Sheena, V.I.P., and Ricki Lake.

The shows will have a full story arc, allowing viewers to follow the program's plot, and won't just be a "best-of" collection of scenes.

"They're meant to be fun and campy," Mosko said. "They've actually brought more attention to these classic shows than they've gotten in a long time."

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