DirecTV tunes up music spec at ‘sacred’ sites

Radio Shack, RCA, MSN to help finance satcasting event

NEW YORK — Alanis Morissette, Brian McKnight, Sugar Ray, Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett and Chrissie Hynde have signed to perform in a series of specials taped at “ancient, sacred locations” around the world for U.S. satellite distribution through DirecTV.

Called “Music in High Places,” the series of 12 hourlong specials will kick off with Morissette at the Navajo Nation’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona.

DirecTV has scheduled the Morissette hour for multiple runs beginning Oct. 8. Satcaster has negotiated an exclusive 45-day window, after which the producers — Tall Pony Prods., TBA Entertainment and Innovative Media Prods. — will sell the 12 shows as a potential monthly series to a basic-cable network still to be determined.

Sources say the license fees from DirecTV and the cable net will not cover the approximately $600,000 average production cost of each hourlong spec, so the producers have signed three corporate underwriters: Radio Shack, RCA and Internet service provider MSN.

Radio Shack’s 7,000 stores will get exclusive footage from the specials, which could help to move TV sets and satellite dishes.

Similarly, MSN will give news of the specials, including streaming video of selected production numbers, a prominent place on its Web sites.

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