USA, Big Lots Hunt for Characters

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If character makes the man -- or woman -- then USA Network’s first-ever co-branded sweepstakes figures to be a consumer hit.

Teaming up with Big Lots, the nation’s largest closeout retailer, the “characters network” will serve up a co-branded on-air and online treasure hunt that will drive users to a site (biglots.usanetwork.com) where they can participate in six distinct USA character hunts.

“The Big Lots! Character Hunt,” promotion began Sunday and runs through Dec. 24.

After registering at the aforementioned address, users can begin searching for six mystery characters from USA’s top original shows -- Monk, The Dead Zone, The 4400, Nashville Star,Psych and WWE.

At the completion of each hunt, the mystery character will be revealed and the user will automatically be entered for their chance to win the $10,000 grand prize.

Other prizes include 10 Apple Computer 60-gigabyte Color iPods with video loaded with four episodes of USA original-series programming. Second-place prizes include 20 $50 Big Lots gift cards. The winners will be announced in January.

To promote the sweepstakes and drive viewers to the site, USA designed a pair of 20-second promotional spots. Two other treasure hunts are slated for 2007, according to network officials.

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