MyNetworkTV, the poorly performing broadcast service operated by the Fox TV Stations, has bought exclusive U.S. rights to “Happy Birthday Elton,” a two-hour taped version of an Elton John concert to be held March 25 at Madison Square Garden.
MyNet will carry an edited edition of the concert, part of a worldwide tour in celebration of John’s 60th birthday, in primetime on April 5, supplemented with celebrity interviews.
Early this month, new MyNet prexy Greg Meidel announced a complete overhaul of the network’s primetime schedule, which currently consists of back-to-back hourlong soap operas patterned after Latin American telenovelas and running each weeknight for 13 weeks.
The rejiggered lineup, beginning March 8, relegates the third set of telenovelas to Tuesday (“American Heiress”) and Wednesday (“Saints & Sinners”), filling the rest of the week with “Intl. Fight League’s Total Impact” (two hours on Monday, with a Saturday primetime repeat) and theatrical movies (Thursday and Friday). MyNetworkTV doesn’t program Sunday.
What’s unusual about the April 5 scheduling of the John concert is that there are still more dates on the tour following the broadcast, at the Colosseum in Las Vegas from April 6-10 and from May 9-13, with a date in Puerto Rico on April 28.
Most concert promoters don’t permit the national telecast of a concert until the tour has completed its live dates as the availability of the concert over the air could hurt ticket sales for the remainder of the tour or anger people who already bought a ticket without knowing they could see it free on TV.
Producer of “Happy Birthday Elton” is HST Management and Whizz Kid Entertainment. Special is directed by David Mallet and produced by Malcolm Gerrie, Paul Morphos and Lisa Chapman.