News

Broadway Bound Kids

9/28/2003 8:00 PM Eastern

As part of the second act of Bravo's performing-arts affiliate relations initiative, student winners will get to perform on the Great White Way.

Under the auspices of new parent NBC, "Bravo on With the Show" has been relaunched as a multi-layered affiliate-outreach program, replete with a local ad-sales component open to MSOs of all sizes.

"Bravo On With The Show: On Broadway … See Who You Can Be" has thus far attracted affiliates among systems owned by Adelphia Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Insight Communications Co., Mediacom Communications Corp. and Time Warner Cable. Bright House Networks and Knology Inc. are also on board for the first time.

During its first two runs over the past three years, more than 2,700 students from 13 select markets were involved in Bravo on With the Show. Their reward: In concert with local cable operators, they were engaged in a two-day workshop with theater professionals.

Those studies led to a performance that was free to the public.

"We saw the value in extending the program on a national basis," Bravo vice president of marketing Erica Conaty said.

Beginning this month and extending through Dec. 8, Conaty said, students can submit a short entry form, via bravo.com, along with a teacher's letter of recommendation. After judges narrow the field based on student and mentor input, semifinalists must write an essay of 500 words describing their desire to participate.

All told, 50 students, aged 10 to 17, will be selected to receive a paid trip for two to New York, where they will be trained by Broadway professionals for two days and then perform on a yet-to-be-determined stage next spring.

Each participating MSO will send at least one winner to Manhattan, Conaty said.

Bright House vice president of business affairs Linda Chambers said her company sees this as a natural extension of its current educational-outreach efforts.

"This program, promoting the performing arts, is a unique twist to the efforts we have made with more traditional subject matter like math and science," she said. "We have already distributed the information and materials to all the schools we partner with, our local community relations people are at work, and we're running the spots. We're pretty excited about this."

"It's nice to see that this will have an afterlife," said Chambers.

On the local ad-sales front, Bravo is encouraging MSOs to drive revenue via point-of-purchase displays or selling sponsorships to Phoenix Productions' troupes performing Fame
or Grease
in a number of the communities served by the operations. The MSO can give part of the proceeds to a local charity.

Chambers said Bright House account executives are currently exploring such local sales opportunities in several of the company's markets.

Going forward, Conaty envisions more plot turns in what figures to be a perennial outreach effort.

"We might see a national sales overlay and our parent General Electric [Co.] might look to do something in local markets," she said. "There could also be some programming aspects to it."

Does that mean viewers could see the children's Broadway performance on Bravo's air? "You may," said Conaty.

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