David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff
A recent press release issued on behalf of the Broadway Television Network (BTN) lacked hard numbers for the new service's March 10 pay-per-view telecast of the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde starring David Hasselhoff. The program was also distributed for cinema exhibition. The release stated that J&H "was rated 'excellent' or 'good' by 99% of the respondents, and 99% indicated they would come back and see more Broadway shows presented live-in-performance using BroadwayDigitalTM High Definition and BroadwaySurround TM technology." No actual ratings or cinema receipts were included, which might have led some cynical readers to assume that the enterprise really didn't do very well. But not so, according to Bruce Brandwen, BTN founder and CEO.

"The slowness in reporting numbers, and the slowness in making payment, are two of the things that really surprised us about pay-per-view," Brandwen told TheaterMania. "We had an inkling of what we might be facing when we negotiated our deal with In Demand, which controls about 27 million cable homes, and--with a straight face--they negotiated a payment period of nine months. As to not getting the numbers more quickly, their excuse is that they run 200 to 300 events and programs per month, and to gather information about any one of them is a process that has never been automated to the fullest extent. But they say they're working on that now. They told us that the numbers will dribble in over about a nine-month period; we still don't have all the numbers for Smokey Joe's Café, which we aired on September 10."

BTN had recorded Jekyll & Hyde live in performance at the Plymouth Theatre at the end of the show's run, with TV star Hasselhoff making his Broadway debut in the title role(s). The network's next presentation--the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting it Together, starring Carol Burnett, Bronson Pinchot, George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall, and John Barrowman--is scheduled for sometime this fall.