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MTV, DirecTV 'High' on Music Show

MTV: Music Television will be the second distribution window for a unique new music series that initially debuted on direct-broadcast satellite service DirecTV Inc.

Music In High Places
— which features concert performances by top stars from locales around the world — makes its MTV debut April 23, with an Alanis Morissette performance at the Navajo Nation. MTV will air three episodes of the series before telecasting additional shows on a monthly basis, said MTV and MTV2 senior vice president of music and talent programming Tom Calderone.

The four episodes — which also include Collective Soul in Morocco, Brian McKnight in Brazil and Shawn Colvin in French Polynesia — premiered last October as part of DirecTV's "freeview" concert series, said DirecTV director of programming acquisitions Patty Ishimoto. The DBS provider has about 9.5 million subscribers.

Though DirecTV executives said consumer focus groups have offered positive feedback about the concert series, MTV provides wider distribution and a larger potential audience for Music In High Places, which is sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and RadioShack Corp.

"The effort will be positive and will open up the series to a broader audience and create more awareness by bringing people to DirecTV's platform," said DirecTV senior vice president of programming acquisitions Michael Thorton.

"It will increase awareness and it's an entirely different audience that watches MTV and DirecTV," added Music In High Places
executive producer Tony Eaton. "It provides an entirely different platform for us, and our platform [and] Microsoft and RadioShack."

Calderone said future Music In High Places
episodes will appear on either MTV or MTV2, depending on the artist.

"I think we're promoting the concert to a different and wider audience," added Calderone. "The content is very compelling. It's a reinvention of the concert form and we hope the audience responds to it."

Along with the series' debut on MTV, Internet service provider MSN will offer exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of each episode, live celebrity chats and full-length, online acoustic musical performances, MTV said.

Upcoming episodes of Music In High Places
will include BBMak at the Hue Monuments in Vietnam; The Deftones on the big island of Hawaii, Mya in Sicily and Sugar Ray in Australia.

A portion of the proceeds from the Music In High Places
franchise supports the work of the Grammy Foundation and its educational programs. The project is also intended to build awareness for the need to preserve some of Earth's endangered sites.