Steven Spielberg, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Survivor producer Mark Burnett: They're all major players in Hollywood. But these Tinseltown denizens also have something else in common -- they're all reportedly working with Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). The Web giant has brought in these big guns to work on its video projects, but recent events illustrate the perils of getting too entangled with the glitterati.

Yahoo! has been working with LivePlanet founders Damon and Affleck and TV producer Burnett to develop "The Runner," a reality show championed by Yahoo! media group head Lloyd Braun when he was an executive at Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ABC television network, TheWall Street Journal recently reported. ABC scrapped the concept, which centers on a fugitive moving between secret locations, because of concerns over insurance costs. Yahoo! believes it has these problems licked.

Yahoo!'s collaboration with Burnett may prove costly, though. Yesterday, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online announced that it is also developing a reality show with Burnett called "Gold Rush!," a Web-based scavenger hunt. The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Gold Rush!" is remarkably similar to a project that Yahoo! is working on known as "Treasure Hunt," which reportedly has Spielberg tentatively attached as producer.

Sources at Yahoo! claim that Burnett learned about "Treasure Hunt" while working on "The Runner" and sought to be hired as a producer for the project, but that Yahoo! refused. Burnett, of course, disputes this account, claiming that he had been working on his own concept for some time.

Whatever the truth is, Yahoo! should tread carefully when it comes to Hollywood. The Web outfit needs to create some compelling video content to compete with its rivals and capture a growing piece of ad revenue. But offering household Hollywood names big contracts isn't likely to do wonders for profitability over the long run, since they have no loyalty to the company. Yahoo! may be better served by scouting and developing lesser-known talent than by jumping right into the big leagues.

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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.