America Online Inc. and MuchMusic USA have signed a deal to move the popular broadband online music program "Sessions@AOL" from computers to televisions. While many companies are considering putting s

America Online Inc. and MuchMusic USA have signed a deal to move the popular broadband online music program "Sessions@AOL" from computers to televisions. While many companies are considering putting shows online, the partners believe their project is the first time content has been repurposed in the other direction.

"With over 1 million streams a week, 'Sessions@AOL' has already proven to be a hit with music fans online, so we're excited to bring this show to an even broader audience of television viewers," AOL Music executive director Evan Harrison said. Owned and managed by Rainbow Media Holdings, MuchMusic is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. and NBC, and can seen in nearly 30 million U.S. households.

This is AOL Music's first television production. Business specifics were not disclosed, but MuchMusic president Marc Juris described the deal as "a purely promotional arrangement." Both companies suggest that the special is simply the first in an ongoing shared-content relationship.

According to Harrison, very few alterations to the original content were needed. "Every shoot is in TV quality," he said. "We literally just had to change the breaks for commercials." Juris agreed. "It's all broadcast quality, beautifully shot and beautifully mixed," he said. "They made sure that the artists are [shown] in the best possible way."

The material is already used at least twice on AOL: once in a half-hour program every other Thursday for broadband users, and then segmented into shorter parts more suitable for AOL's dial-up subscribers.

MuchMusic will air the two-part, one-hour special "Highlights From Sessions@AOL" on March 16 at 7 p.m. ET. Each part will feature four segments compiled from material originally recorded for AOL Music's biweekly broadband show of exclusive live performances and interviews.

Part 1 focuses on rock music with performances by Queens Of The Stone Age, Jimmy Eat World, the Donnas, and the Used. Part 2 switches over to hip-hop and boasts Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, and Ja Rule. The program will repeat March 16 (10 p.m.), March 18 (4 p.m. and 9 p.m.), and March 22 (5 p.m.).

Characterizing the content as an "exclusive and intimate experience," Juris said the partnership is a good fit from a philosophical viewpoint, because both partners believe the needs of music fans are not being met elsewhere. MTV and VH1 are "lifestyle channels, not music channels anymore," he added.

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