June 17, 2013 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
E! Sets 'Summer Concert Series' With Live Nation (Exclusive)
E! is going inside some of the summer's biggest concert tours.
In a bid for timeliness and the "pop of culture" that its tagline suggests, the cable network will launch E!'s Inside Track Summer Concert Series as a regular part of E! News. The effort, a collaboration with Live Nation, will offer viewers a window into the life of some of the day's biggest musical acts.
The Summer Concert Series will kick off June 21 at 7 p.m. with footage from Pitbull and Ke$ha's Detroit concert and feature performances from Brad Paisley in Tampa, Jonas Brothers (Chicago), Backstreet Boys (Chicago), New Kids on the Block (Detroit), Big Time Rush (Phoenix) plus Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls (St. Louis).
"E! thrives in the music space, and we’re excited to team up with Live Nation in a unique way that takes the summer concert series to a whole new level," said Cyndi McClellan, president of network strategy and E! News. "Not only will viewers see their favorite music megastars taking the stage, we're also serving the super fan with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to these performers."
Each segment will showcase an exclusive interview, behind-the-scenes access to the prep work that goes into the tour, tour bus access, meet and greets with fans and concert footage. Additional features from the shows, as well as the opportunity to win tickets from Live Nation, will be available on E!'s website, which boasts more than 8 million unique visitors on a weekly basis and is pacing to deliver its best year to date.
The partnership marks the latest musical endeavor at E!, which in the past has provided all-access coverage for artists including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and more. The deal comes as E! has made music-themed programming a priority with the unscripted series The Wanted Life, which goes inside the world of pop band The Wanted.
What's more, live events, including award shows and concerts, continue to be a draw for both broadcast and cable networks as well as the advertisers that prop them up. E! president Suzanne Kolb has been vocal about adding such DVR-proof events in the cabler's female-targeted demographic. "There's a real hunger for that [live] experience, which in some ways has been further fueled by the growth of DVR," she told The Hollywood Reporter in February. "In today's world of social media, live TV starts the conversation that lives on Twitter and other social networks."
The CW, for its part, inked a three-year deal in May for music specials with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to serve as the exclusive broadcast home of the iHeartRadio Music Festival and will air similar programming.
E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com, Twitter: @Snoodit