TOKYO: TV broadcasters worldwide share a common problem: the seduction of their viewers by the world wide web. But one major network, Japan's TBS, has conceived a novel way to win back viewers – with the help of online rival Yahoo Japan.

The nation's leading internet portal has joined with TBS in an innovative co-promotion, centring on Rookies, a new baseball-themed drama series currently in production and scheduled to air in April.

The show's writers have intentionally left some roles uncast and aim to fill them with unknown aspirants, who are invited to submit self-made audition tapes for review on a special local Yahoo site. 

Yahooistas will review the auditions and vote for their favorites, with the winners cast in supporting roles. 

There's another neat, if unoriginal, gimmick: an  unfilled starring female role for which fifteen celebrity models and actresses will compete – the winner being in part  determined by Yahoo users.

And in part by unspecified other means.

Still it's a change from the casting couch. 

Isn't it?

Data sourced from Japan Marketing News; additional content by WARC staff