In a surprising u-turn, the MTV Networks said they would rebroadcast 10 commercial-free hours of performances Saturday from the July 2 Live 8 concerts.
Viewers will be able to see the complete sets of U2, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Kanye West and Green Day on either MTV or VH1, Van Toffler, president of the MTV Networks Music Group, said Friday.
MTV took a critical beating and received complaints from thousands of viewers about its eight hours of Live 8 coverage on July 2. Between commercials, interviews and reports from correspondents, MTV often showed only a song or two from several of the sets.
Toffler said the list of performers at each concert kept growing in the days leading up to the show partly because MTV was helping organizers book the acts.
“It just got bigger and bigger and we couldn’t accommodate them all,” he said.
MTV had made a commitment to organizers to explain the purpose behind the concerts, and many artists requested to be interviewed about their reasons for being there, he said. MTV’s coverage stood in stark contrast to America Online, which offered viewing of the performances in their entirety.
Many of MTV’s viewers weren’t even alive when Pink Floyd broke up, so Toffler said he was surprised at how many wanted to see the band’s reunion performance in full.
As the complaints built up, Toffler said he contacted Live 8 organizers on Wednesday to see if some the performances could be rerun.
VH1 will air selected performances between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. EDT/PDT, featuring artists more popular with its older audience: Rob Thomas, Sting, the Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5, for example. MTV will show performances between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., featuring Linkin Park & Jay Z, the Killers, Kanye West and Green Day.
Both networks will cover U2, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Paul McCartney and Orchestra Baobab. The full list of performers became available Friday on the company’s Web sites.
After the shows, MTV will air a 30-minute special, “Live 8: Next Steps,” with news reports on the concerts and the G8 summit.