Yahoo Inc. may have missed buying YouTube Inc., but the Internet giant is trying to cash in on the amateur-video craze by layering slick TV-style programming on top of it.

"The 9," an online show that features sites and videos from across the Web, has become a quiet hit for Yahoo since it launched in July. As many as 6 million viewers a month watch host Maria Sansone's rundown of nine wacky sites, then click away to photos of yawning rabbits, YouTube videos of slow-motion face slaps and episodes of Mr. T's new TV show.

Lloyd Braun, head of Yahoo's media unit, was so pleased with "The 9" that he enlisted its creator, longtime TV producer Michael Davies, to start a filmmaking competition to find a Web star with staying power. The winner of the "Yahoo Talent Show," which will be launched today, will receive $50,000 and land a regular show on Yahoo.

Together, "The 9" (not to be confused with the ABC series "The Nine") and "Talent Show" reveal Braun's emerging vision for Yahoo's role in online entertainment: Blend show-business packaging with homemade-video creativity to bring cult hits into the Web mainstream.

"In a world where there's such a proliferation of this user-generated content all over the place, there is a need for that programming element that is still, to a very large extent, an underutilized discipline on the Internet," said Braun, a former chairman of ABC television. "I think that's where our company is going to be able to distinguish itself."

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