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Fuse Hits 'The Sauce'

Rainbow Media's tiny music-focused Fuse network is planning a live studio-based show of its own that could compete with MTV's Total Request Live. Fuse's The Sauce, which premieres April 2, will run weekdays at 6 p.m. ET.

Targeted at Fuse's 18- to 34-year-old audience, The Sauce will include appearances and performances by new and established artists and segments on pop culture, technology, school and other youth-focused topics. Shot at Fuse's 11 Penn Plaza in New York, it will promote viewer interactivity through instant message, texting and webcams.

"It's a stomping ground for musicians, celebrities and the audience and a variety show for the music enthusiast," says Fuse Executive VP/General Manager Jennifer Caserta.

In March, MTV started taping its long-running Total Request Live two days a week to cut costs. The show, MTV's third-longest-running, is down significantly from its 1999 peak of 757,000 viewers a day, to about 351,000. Fuse was up in both total day and prime viewing during February: 31% and 33%, respectively. Still, MTV's average daily audience of 589,000 viewers towers over Fuse's at 21,000.

Sauce is part of Fuse's mantra to "break music and rules," Caserta says. It will be joined April 24 by another show that follows that charge, reality series Rad Girls. The show, reminiscent of MTV's wild-guy series Viva La Bam, follows attractive young women who pull decidedly un-ladylike stunts, pranks and jokes. Currently in production, it will run at 11 p.m. ET.

Rainbow is a subsidiary of Cablevision.