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MHD Sings a New Tune

8/15/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

MTV Networks' MHD high-definition music channel will change its tune as it looks to establish itself as an HD music destination with new concert footage and rock movies.

MTVN will rename the 12 million-subscriber service Palladia beginning Sept. 1, according to Tom Calderone, VH1's executive vice president and general manager, who also oversees the two-and-a-half-year-old MHD. Calderone said the new name reflects the network's move toward more music-video and concert footage.

“The old name felt a little antiseptic for us,” he said, adding that the new name lets people “know that this is not just a channel that repurposes some of the music shows from MTV, VH1 and CMT.”

While tentpole events like VH1's Hip Hop Honors, CMT's CMT Music Awards and MTV's Video Music Awards will still air on the network, Calderone said he hopes the service will be mostly known from original and acquired music content.

The channel will premiere a different concert every Saturday at 9 p.m. and will show “seminal rock movies” every Thursday at 9 p.m.

The network will also develop themed music programming. The first week of September will be “Outdoor Music Week”, featuring outdoor concerts by Madonna, Usher, Dave Matthews Band, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Green Day, Genesis, Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg, Sugarland, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dierks Bentley, Hank Williams Jr., Queen, Will Smith and The Rolling Stones.

Future themed programming includes a hip-hop weekend in October, a classic-rock movie week in November — with first-time-ever HD telecasts of Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same, Pink Floyd: The Wall and The Rolling Stones' Let's Spend the Night Together — and a “Best of 2008” week in December.

“We're leaning on some of the outside projects we've created or some of the concerts we've acquired throughout the year,” Calderone said. “We'll also take advance of the music video channels that are shot in HD.”

While in 12 million homes, the channel has room to grow, having affiliation deals with top carriers Comcast, Cox Communications, Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, DirecTV, Charter Communications, AT&T and Insight Communications.

“Our distributors are so bullish on high-def as a product offering, and knowing that we're truly the only 24-hour, high-def music channel that offers this kind of rich content, we feel we're in a great position and real happy with the distribution that we're getting.”

September