GTE ADDS MORE MERCHANTS TO MAINSTREET SERVICE; PRODIGY USERS BROWSE THE WEB; AOL'S HOLIDAY SHOPPING SPREE; OTHER NEWS

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GTE mainStreet will offer play-along versions of "Press Your Luck" and "Designated Hitter" on its interactive TV service under a new agreement with game-show producer William Carruthers Co., the company said last week. GTE also introduced Flyin' Diner, a mail-order food service offering vittles from Clambake Celebrations, Omaha Steaks International and others. And mainStreet has begun a search for "interactive video personalities" to host late-night programs and introduce other interactive features. MainStreet is available to cable subscribers in Carlsbad, Calif., and parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Several thousand Prodigy members began testing the service's World Wide Web browser on Dec. 1, making Prodigy the first commercial online company to offer such a feature. Prodigy unveiled the browser at the Western Show in Anaheim, Calif., where it also demonstrated full-motion video and other broadband enhancements developed specifically for cable TV subscribers.

America Online is on an acquisition binge. The online service last week agreed to acquire Advanced Network & Services, a data network company, for $35 million. The announcement follows AOL's recent acquisitions of Internet services companies BookLink and NaviSoft. AOL said it will use ANS to offer subscribers higher-speed access to the online service at no extra charge. Separately, AOL said it will participate in cable modem trials with BellSouth Corp. in Atlanta and with Rogers Cablesystems in Toronto next year.

Sega Channel this month starts its national rollout, entering markets in Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, Michigan, New York, California and other states. ... The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau opened a CompuServe forum providing information on cable network programming, avails, tie-in promotions and other data. ... Interactive Network formed RealTime Gaming Systems, a Las Vegas-based subsidiary to explore interactive applications for the gaming industry. Neil Rosenstein, former CEO of Jackpot Enterprises, was named chairman-CEO. ... Louise Velazquez, 38, was named senior VP-business development at Oracle Corp.'s New Media Division, Redwood Shores, Calif., from president-chief operating officer of Quincy Jones Productions, Los Angeles.

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