Columbia Records in 20th TV's 'Glee' club

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Columbia Records has inked a multiplatform deal with 20th TV for the upcoming comedy musical series "Glee." Under the pact, Columbia will release music from the Fox show on iTunes and other digital platforms, as well as on CDs.

Set at McKinley High School, the series, which will get a sneak peek Tuesday after "American Idol" before launching in the fall, follows an optimistic teacher who challenges the ragtag performers of the school's glee club.

Music plays a major part on the show, with each episode featuring hits spanning pop, R&B, hip-hop, country, Broadway and rock.

"In the musical world of McKinley High … there are no borders, no boundaries, no formats, just great songs and the joy that performing and experiencing them can produce," "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy said.

Rob Stringer, chairman of Columbia/Epic Label Group, called "Glee" "a smart and challenging yet totally mainstream platform for the most innovative use of classic and contemporary pop seen on television," noting that the show "will be a key focus for the Columbia A&R, Marketing and Sales teams."

The deal with Columbia Records, which came after 20th TV head of music Geoff Bywater met with several record companies, is broader reaching than previous music partnerships, 20th TV chairman Dava Walden said.

"It's a unique show with so many musical elements to it, and Rob got our goal, which is to turn 'Glee' into a brand," she said.

20th TV has big off-screen plans for "Glee," which also include potential licensing and touring.

Cast performances of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" will be available on iTunes May 19, with additional bonus preview tracks released throughout the summer. The first "Glee" soundtrack album will be released in late fall. (partialdiff)
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