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B'way PPV org sets 2nd event.

NEW YORK Broadway Television Network, the company set up to produce PPV events derived from Broadway musicals, has announced the details of its planned "Jekyll & Hyde" airing.

The company taped the final seven performances of the tuner, which closed on Jan. 7 with David Hasselhoff headlining, on high-definition video. It will sell the event for $19.95, and has skedded the show for March 10 at 8 p.m.

Sources say production costs will end up in the mid-seven figures, but BTN retains all ancillary rights, including homevideo, domestic cable and foreign broadcast, satellite and cable.

The price is $5 cheaper than the tariff for BTN's first PPV production, the Broadway musical review "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller," which ran in September.

"We're experimenting with the retail price category," says Bruce Brandwen, president-CEO of BTN, who acknowledges the $24.95 charge for "Smokey Joe's" "may have been too pricey."

Brandwen says he still hasn't received a definitive figure for the buy-rate for "Smokey Joe's," four months after the fact, but published projections put the total at an anemic 50,000. A music concert can pull in 200,000 households, and a big prize fight can swell to a buy-rate of more than a million.

The perception in the legit biz is that "Smokey Joe's" was not a success. In another sign that the venture is finding the going rough, BTN exec Susan Lee, a highly respected Broadway marketing specialist, left the company recently.

Nevertheless, BTN is negotiating for more musicals, preferably to be transmitted live, not on tape. But the next production, Brandwen says, is likely to be on tape -- the Sondheim review "Putting It Together," starring Carol Burnett, which flopped on Broadway.

Like "Jekyll & Hyde" and "Smokey Joe's," BTN taped the final performances of "Putting It Together," which will run as a one-shot special sometime in the third quarter of 2001.

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Comment:B'way PPV org sets 2nd event.
Author:DEMPSEY, JOHN
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 22, 2001
Words:315
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