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AOL's Hollywood Shuffle

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If there’s one way to sum up America Online’s marketing strategy for the rest of the ’90s, it’s this: AOL wants its initials to be as recognizable as, say, NBC or MTV. That, presumably, is why the 7 million-subscriber online service recently moved MTV cofounder Bob Pittman from its board of directors to president of its online division and inked a deal with former NBC wunderkind Brandon Tartikoff to develop a new daily online series, Beggars and Choosers, about the melodramatic goings-on at a flagging TV network. (Tartikoff also plans to turn the property into a movie for Showtime and a title for his imprint at Avon Books.) Says AOL CEO Steve Case, evincing a cockiness worthy of a TV exec, ”We think our future customers are every single consumer in America.”