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Eye’s digital group seeks sponsors for ‘ACM Sessions’ series

CBS is angling to expand the Academy of Country Music Awards from a once-a-year tentpole event into an online video fairground for the genre’s fans to visit in all seasons.

Ahead of the Eye’s live broadcast of the 48th ACM Awards from Las Vegas on Sunday, CBS Interactive has launched “ACM Sessions,” an online concert series featuring country music stars with performances and interviews.

First in the series is a 25-minute cut of a live perf by warbler Luke Bryan, a two-time ACM Award winner who co-hosts the awards show Sunday. Concert was taped in front of a live audience at Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

CBS Interactive plans to deliver new segs close to every month, a rep said. The net is seeking a marquee sponsor (or more) for “ACM Sessions,” although the initial clip already includes ads.

Similar to the “Live on Letterman” music series for the “Late Show With David Letterman,” the “ACM Sessions” will give the net “an opportunity to bring fans regular access to the superstars we feature during the annual Academy of Country Music Awards,” Marc DeBevoise, CBS Interactive executive VP and GM of entertainment, news and sports, said in a statement.

In addition, CBS.com will offer country music buffs other digital vignettes, designed to drive tune-in for Sunday’s telecast. Those include the “Road to the ACM Awards,” a web-vid series that follows three artists — Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band and Hunter Hayes — on their way to the show, plus photo galleries and contests.

Look for CBS Interactive to sing the praises of “ACM Sessions,” among other initiatives, at its April 30 evening presentation during the second-annual Digital Content NewFronts week in New York.

“ACM Sessions” will be available free to watch at CBS.com, as well as through CBS Audience Network partners including MSN and Metacafe.

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