NEW YORK — In the television equivalent of a do-over, the MTV Networks said they would air 10 commercial-free hours of performances Saturday from last weekend's Live 8 concerts.
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Viewers will be able to see the entire sets of U2, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Kanye West and Green Day on either MTV or VH1, and sometimes both, Van Toffler, president of the MTV Networks Music Group, said Friday.
MTV took a critical whipping and received complaints from more than 2,000 viewers about their 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 performances.
Toffler said the list of performers at each concert, held in 10 different cities, kept growing in the days leading up to the show — partly because MTV was helping organizers book acts.
"It just got bigger and bigger and we couldn't accommodate them all," he said.
At the same time, MTV had made a commitment to organizers to explain the purpose behind the concerts, and many artists wanted to be interviewed about their reasons for being there, he said. MTV's telecast stood in contrast to America Online, which offered most 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 flooded in, Toffler said he contacted Live 8 organizers on Wednesday to see if some of 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 air U2, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Paul McCartney and Orchestra Baobab. The full list of performers became available Friday on the networks' Web sites.
After the performances, MTV will air a 30-minute special, "Live 8: Next Steps," with news reports on the concerts and the G8 summit.
ABC has probably seen all it wants of Live 8, however. Its two-hour concert special July 2 was seen by fewer than 3 million people, a smaller audience than even coverage of the rain delay of the Daytona 400 on NBC.
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