Is (NASDAQ:AMZN) ready for prime time? Thursday, Amazon said that it will offer an original Internet show on its site, hosted by Bill Maher. Whatever you think of the program itself, Amazon is drawing together the obvious synergies between entertainment, commerce, and the new prevalence of broadband connections.

Dubbed Amazon Fishbowl With Bill Maher, the weekly show will "air" live every Thursday night on Amazon's home page starting June 1, and will be available on demand after that. Sneak-preview clips from its first show will be available on Jan. 24, featuring an interview with blockbuster horror writer Stephen King and a musical performance by Rob Thomas. It will be sponsored by UPS (NYSE:UPS), which is getting into the promotional spirit of things by selecting a random customer to receive a surprise special delivery correlated to each episode.

In case you haven't heard of Bill Maher, he hosts the Real Time With Bill Maher talk show on Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) HBO. A satirist and a bit of a political wild-card, Maher's remarks have occasionally incited controversy. Whether or not you're a fan of Maher (personally, I've never watched Real Time nor his former show, Politically Incorrect), Amazon's latest foray into content should continue to draw investors' attention. (Interestingly, Amazon will preview the show at the Sundance Film Festival, the annual mecca for indie films.)

Original content has become an increasingly popular draw on the Web. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are all getting into video content, for example, all aiming to best leverage their products and services toward consumers' appetites for e-commerce.

Televised talk shows have always helped to drum up interest in new books, music, and movies. Amazon's innovation lies in airing this particular show on its own site. Although I've often cautioned against corporations getting too heavy-handed with advertising techniques that can blur the lines between pitches and content (in fact, I did it yesterday), Amazon's initiative doesn't look like a huge departure from the celebrity-interview talk show format, other than the obvious ease with which viewers can purchase related products. (Of course, we'll have to wait for the preview to know for sure.)

Amazon seems to understand its place in the evolution of broadband content online, continually pushing its offerings in new directions. For example, the site recently screened exclusive short films for customers. By offering such content, it may be becoming more of a gathering place for customers, luring them with the online equivalent of bricks-and-mortar bookstores in-store concerts and readers. (Of course, Amazon won't be able to offer the "food court" experience anytime soon.)

Amazon remains one of the premier names in e-commerce, and its efforts to capitalize on consumers' increasing appetite for broadband content prove that it has yet to run out of fresh ideas.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.