Home Box Office hosted the premiere of the special two-hour episode that
opens the third season of hit series The Sopranos Wednesday night at New
York's Radio City Music Hall.
'I don't know another TV show that could fill Radio City Music Hall, ' HBO
chairman Jeff Bewkes said before the curtain opened. Bewkes acknowledged the
show's stars, producers and directors, as well as New York Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, who was among the crowd of about 4,000 in the audience.
According to an HBO spokesman, the network and a local Comcast Corp. system
in northern New Jersey plan to host a screening for another 1,000 people Tuesday
at the Union County Arts Center.
The new season starts Sunday, March 4.
HBO wants to make sure the buzz continues well after the first episode airs.
It invited radio disc jockeys from around the country to the Radio City
DJs 'love to talk about The Sopranos,' HBO executive vice president of
marketing Eric Kessler said. He added that the network hopes the talk will
continue every Monday morning for the 13 weeks that the show runs.
'The success of the [radio] program reflects the success of the show,'
Kessler said. 'We can create the noise, but ultimately, any show needs to
deliver to keep the audience.'
Another way HBO plans to keep the buzz going between episodes is through its
'mock renegade' Web site, designed to look like it was created by a minor
character from the show as an insider's look at the other players.
College freshman Meadow Soprano's confessionals on her family, supposedly
written for one of her courses, will be 'pirated' and posted on the site. That
story line will be exclusive to the Web.
'We're trying to create a full-bodied Sopranos experience for our
viewers,' Kessler said. 'We know once a week is not enough.'
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