Millennium Live Worldwide Broadcast Cancelled

Financial problems kill 24-hour worldwide New Year's Eve TV show

(Everything2000) With the end of the year still a few days away, the Millennium Television Network has apparently pulled the plug on it's 24-hour worldwide broadcast of New Year's Eve events. In the U.S., the program was set to air on the PAX-TV network.

Sources tell Variety and Reuters that MTN, which had signed with broadcasters in over 130 countries as partners, couldn't pull off financing for the event as planned.

Sources said the MTN started missing payments at the end of November for crucial elements such as satellite space and installment of the show's set. The original financial backers apparently backed out of the telecast, while new investors couldn't deliver. The global broadcast previously had announced it would feature entertainment performances from all over the world, including Aerosmith, 'N Sync and Phil Collins.

At a press conference in November, the ``Millennium Live'' team said that they had secured 77 satellite transponders for the broadcast and would base the show's hub at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach.

According to Australia's Nine TV network, the Los Angeles-based Millennium Television Network plans to go ahead next year in time for the ``true millennium,''

Reuters reports the Nine Network, which had been lined up to contribute coverage of this week's New Year Celebrations on Sydney Harbor, said the project involved about 50 stations around the world as contributors. . Steve Wood, executive producer of Nine's Millennium Live, told Reuters the project was budgeted at US$44 million.

Another 130 stations and networks had been expected to broadcast the extravaganza, designed to rival millennium coverage aired by the British Broadcasting Corp and 49 other broadcasters.

``I think they were expecting last week to have an injection of about US$15 million into their funds which didn't eventuate. So that's what pushed them over the edge,'' he said.

Wood quoted an email from MTN president Joseph Medawar which said the program, which also included radio and Internet broadcasts, would be postponed due to a funding shortfall.

``Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, MTN's anticipated funding and other resources will not be available in time to complete the production and broadcast from our original schedule. We are forced to postpone the program,'' he quoted Medawar as saying.

However, Woods quoted Medawar as saying MTN would be up and running by the first quarter 2000.

`` ...MTN's business plan also includes a global broadcast on December 31, 2000, at the start of the true millennium,'' Wood quoted Medawar as saying. While Nine intended to recover losses, it was too early to say whether the network would take legal action, Wood said.

Pax execs are said to be disappointed about the presumed cancellation of ``Millennium Live,'' which already had been promoted heavily on air and with ads in publications such as TV Guide.

Instead, Pax is expected to air a marathon of old movies as well as short vignettes tentatively titled ``Pax Millennium Moments.''

Source Variety/Reuters

DATE: 12/29/99

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