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Fuse Lights Up Originals

6/29/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Fuse continues to bang the
drum for music programming.

The 70-million subscriber network, owned
by Madison Square Garden’s MSG Media
division, seeks to strike a chord with viewers
through development of music-themed
original shows
over the next year, MSG Media president
Mike Bair said.

“We can now do more transformative
shows, like introduce more original shows,
create partnerships with artists, sponsorships
and labels,” he said. “What you’re going
to see now is a significant ramp-up of
activity in original programming.”

Bair spoke about the network as it
seeks a replacement for former general
manager Gavin Harvey, who left
recently to take over the CEO slot at Sportsman
Channel after less than a year at Fuse.

“We hated to see Gavin go, but we feel that
our strategy is strong and has taken root, so
it’s a matter of finding someone who will
continue on the same direction that we’re
going now,” Bair said.

Fuse wants to create original series that
build on the viewer’s musical experience beyond
music video-related programming.

Green-lighted original shows include
Mad Genius, the half-hour documentary series
about brilliant-yet-rebellious artists; and
Lay It Down, a music and conversation series
hosted by Cee-Lo Green of pop group Gnarls
Barkley.


A Different Spin With Mark Hoppus
, coming
in September, is a long-form original series
taking a humorous and entertaining spin on
the music industry, through interviews with
artists and other celebrities. The host is the
front man of the rock band Blink-182.

“What we generally look for are shows
that are going to provide insights for musicians
and a place where they can have their
own voice and control some of the content,”
Bair said.

Also expect four to six new Fuse Presents
live concerts featuring contemporary
musical acts. The network recently announced it will televise a July 27 concert featuring pop/rock group Maroon 5 from New York City's Beacon Theatre to celebrate the release of the band's first studio album in three years, said the network. Fuse recently
televised concerts featuring Jay-Z, John
Mayer, the Dave Matthews Band,
Kanye West and Fall
Out Boy.

Fuse wants to continue leveraging its relationships
with artists, promoters and talent
agents built through its alliance with MSG
Media-owned New York concert venues
the Beacon Theatre, Madison Square Garden,
The WaMu Theater and Radio City Music
Hall, as well as The Chicago Theatre and
Boston’s Wang Theatre.

Fuse’s complete adherence to music programming
helped boost its first-quarter primetime
audience by 29%, to 69,000 viewers.

September