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[03/15/04 - 12:00 AM]
The WB Gives 'Pepsi Smash' Second Season
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The WB is getting a jump on its summer schedule, announcing today it has picked up "Pepsi Smash" for a second season on eight episodes. The new season, which will add Clear Channel Entertainment as a producer, is set to unspool Thursday, May 27 at 8:00/7:00c.

The renewal comes as a slight surprise as a paltry 1.82 million viewers on average tuned into the show's inaugural season last summer. Nevertheless, the series saw its audience grow from 1.7 million to 2.2 million over the course of its six-week run.

The news was announced via press release this morning:

"THE WB PRESENTS PEPSI SMASH" RETURNS FOR A SECOND SEASON OF HOT SUMMER PERFORMANCES

THE COMBINED POWER OF THE WB NETWORK, PEPSI-COLA NORTH AMERICA AND CLEAR CHANNEL ENTERTAINMENT WILL CREATE AN EIGHT-WEEK SERIES INCORPORATING LIVE IN-STUDIO PERFORMANCES AS WELL AS REMOTES FROM THE TOP ACTS ON THE ROAD PERFORMING AT CLEAR CHANNEL PEPSI VENUES

WEEKLY BATTLE-OF-THE-BANDS "SMASH OFF" WILL LET VIEWERS VOTE FOR A WINNER TO CLOSE THE SHOW

The WB Network, Pepsi-Cola North America, Clear Channel Entertainment and Joel Gallen are teaming up for a summer smash, bringing primetime television's first music series in decades back for a second season. In addition to live performances from the hottest musical acts in all popular genres from a Hollywood studio, the second season of THE WB PRESENTS PEPSI SMASH will include remote performances from bands performing at Clear Channel Pepsi venues across the nation.

A new battle-of-the-bands interactive component, "Smash Off," will expose viewers to new acts, with viewers voting on which artist they would like to see close the broadcast with a second song. There will be separate votes on both the East and West Coasts, creating the possibility for different content tailored to the taste of the viewers in that time zone. The show will again be executive produced by Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions.

The eight-week summer series will premiere Thursday, May 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) and will feature an in-studio host and a field correspondent. All performances will be in front of a live audience. The field correspondent will travel with the Pepsi Smash-Mobile, a tour bus that doubles as a remote set, and will provide updates from the summer's hottest tours.

More than 18 million people tuned in during last year's six-week run of the series, which included performances by platinum acts such as Beyonc�, Dido, Evanescence and Fabolous, and helped raise the profile of artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Chingy, Maroon 5 and Trapt.

"Renewing 'Smash' for a second season is a reflection of music's importance as a foundation to The WB," said Jordan Levin, Co-CEO of The WB. "'Smash' was eagerly embraced by the music industry last year as a unique new way to build immediate, widespread exposure and momentum for acts like Beyonc�, The Ataris and Black Eyed Peas. This year we're improving the show in a number of ways to make it broader in scope and even more relevant to our audience, with both the concert and battle-of-the-bands elements in the hands of music television's best producer, Joel Gallen."

"Pepsi Smash brings some of the best acts in all genres of music to one stage - you can't find that anywhere else on primetime television," said Dave Burwick, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Pepsi-Cola North America. "The energy of the studio audience and the quality of production are unparalleled. And this year, we're thrilled to go the extra mile with Clear Channel to bring the summer's biggest tours and festivals to living rooms everywhere."

"Pepsi Smash is one of the few true music performance shows on television," said Bruce Eskowitz, President, National Sales and Marketing at Clear Channel Entertainment. "To shoot in the live concert forum will truly showcase artists' ability to perform live on stage. As the leading producer of live entertainment we are excited to be working with Pepsi and The WB to set a new standard for live music on television."

Said Bill Morningstar, The WB's Executive Vice President, Media Sales: "The Pepsi brand connects with teens and young adults all over the world through music. Our brands are a perfect fit with a history of defining pop culture and a generation. Adding Clear Channel as a partner is a tremendous coup, as they are the premier force on the American music landscape."





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· PEPSI SMASH (WB)





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