Describing itself as theatre's first global television subscription service, Broadway Tonight (BT) announced on Feb. 16 that it would launch its worldwide services in the fall of 2001.
Once underway, Broadway Tonight will offer four Broadway shows to television viewers around the world for an annual subscription fee of $79.95.
BT distinguishes itself as the first subscription-based television service for Broadway. The strategy for BT includes hiring film and television stars for a new play, on the premise that established talent in film and television will generate marketing support for the show. Using a television studio, BT will then record the original cast in performance -- before they ever perform in front of an audience. The tape of that performance is then put on hold. Next, the show is sent for out-of-town tryouts. Following the tryouts, the show comes to New York for its Broadway opening at a Nederlander theatre. Once the show closes its stage run, the taped version of the original cast becomes part of BT's global television subscription package.
Eventually, BT's shows will go to its Broadway Theatre Archive for syndication and video distribution.
Aimed at developing dramas using "stars interested in appearing in plays by America's greatest playwrights," BT is one of two operating divisions of Broadway Digital Entertainment (BDE). The other is the Broadway Theatre Archive. BDE's investor group comprises founding investor Michael Fuchs, WaterView Advisors' Frank Biondi, The Nederlander Theatre Group, Bear Stearns/Comstellation Ventures, Psilos Venture Capital Group, The New York City Investment Fund and Broadway producers Chase Mishkin and Anita Waxman.
For additional information visit either broadwaytonight.com or broadwayarchive.com.
-- By Murdoch McBride