VH1, History in tune with ‘Woodstock’

Channels team on Barbara Kopple documentary

VH1 and History have joined forces to bring the Barbara Kopple doc “Woodstock: Now and Then” to television, with airings on both channels scheduled within days of each other in August.

The two-hour “Woodstock” will appear Aug. 14 on VH1 and again three days later on History, coinciding with the event’s 40th-anniversary weekend.

Kopple, who won feature doc Oscars for 1976’s “Harland County, U.S.A.” and 1990’s “American Dream,” directed and produced. Woodstock festival organizer Michael Lang is an executive producer.

VH1 production and programming veep Brad Abramson said that when Kopple and King approached the cabler about airing the doc, bringing on History as a partner was a logical next step.

“Demographically, our viewers are very different, which meant we could bring this fantastic documentary to the widest possible audience,” Abramson said.

VH1 has forged such outside partnerships before — with Sundance Channel on documentaries “The Drug Years” and “Sex: The Revolution,” for example. However, History exec veep-general manager Nancy Dubuc said that the “Woodstock” doc marks the first time her cabler has worked on this scale with an unaffiliated network.

“History and VH1 had been speaking about collaborating for quite a while, but we were waiting for the right fit,” Dubuc said. “When Brad brought ‘Woodstock’ to the table, it seemed like a natural.”

The doc will offer first-hand accounts and reflections from musicians (including Richie Havens and Graham Nash), fans, promoters and others, along with archival images. Musical excerpts will include Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Santana and the Who.

The film fits into ongoing programming initiatives for each network: History’s focus on the events of the summer of 1969 (which also includes docs “Moonshot” and “Sex in 69: The Sexual Revolution in America”) and VH1’s Rock Doc franchise.

“Woodstock” is scheduled for a premiere screening at New York’s Paley Center for Media on Aug. 11. VH1 and History will work together on press and marketing efforts while promoting their airings separately.

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