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Boston Pops to light up July 4

Eye to air show nationally; 'Early Show's' Smith to host

BOSTON — The Boston Pops 4th of July Concert, a staple of Boston TV on ABC affiliate WCVB since 1991 and reaching a national audience on the A&E cable channel, will move this year to CBS. The five-year pact involves the Pops, the Boston Fourth of July Foundation, CBS and its local station, WBZ.

WBZ will continue the local tradition of wall-to-wall coverage of the event, running three hours and ending with the traditional playing of the “1812 Overture” leading into a fireworks display. The prime 10-11 p.m. segment will air nationally, and be hosted by Harry Smith of “The Early Show.” Musical performers joining the Pops include country music star LeAnn Rimes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The move was made at the behest of local philanthropist (and former owner of Boston TV station WHDH) David Mugar, who wanted to shop the event around for the best deal. Mugar’s Boston Fourth of July Foundation produces the show.

There was some bitterness that the long running partnership with WCVB had come to an end, but the Pops organization (part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) had nothing but praise for WCVB.

Mugar made it clear that this was no reflection on past arrangements, and in four years the contract will be up for bid again.

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