NBC TAKING ‘TODAY’ MUSIC TO POP CHARTS

NY Daily News

BY PHYLLIS FURMAN

Wednesday, March 22th 2000, 2:12AM

They already dominate morning television, now Katie Couric and Matt Lauer are ready to top the pop charts.

Looking to squeeze even more dollars from its highly profitable “Today Show,” NBC is planning to launch a series of albums based on the program’s popular summer music spots, entertainment sources said.

“NBC would like to leverage the tremendous success of the ‘Today Show’ concert series” an NBC spokeswoman confirmed. “We hope to have a deal with a record company in the near future.” concert series,” an NBC spokeswoman confirmed. “We hope to have a deal with a record company in the near future.”

NBC has every reason to exploit the performances, which have featured the likes of Santana, Whitney Houston, James Taylor and Jewel performing in front of the “Today Show’s” glass-fronted studio in Rockefeller Center. Last summer’s Ricky Martin concert drew thousands of screaming fans.

Leading NBC’s pursuit of platinum status are former Capitol Records executive Kim Niemy, NBC’s vice president in charge of business development, and marketing executive Frank Radice, who lately have been making the rounds among music execs.

  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Release Date: 2001
  • Type: Collection (various artists), Live
  • Genre: Rock

 

Review

The second volume of excerpts from the performances in the plaza of New York’sRockefeller Center for the weekly morning TV program the Today show is considerably hipper than its predecessor. Somebody noted the ages of the veteran acts featured on the first volume and skewed this one younger. There’s even a teen pop act, 98°, accompanied by the expected screams. Contemporary performers like the Corrs give a good show for themselves, and Sugar Ray makes a special effort, perhaps because lead singer Mark McGrath correctly sees his future in television. But youth is no guarantee of quality, as the obnoxious Jewel demonstrates by instructing the audience that she is going to sing her new “radio single,” and that they must go home and call their radio stations to request it, then turning in one of her typically mannered performances. Jimmy Buffett, no spring chicken, is a crowd-pleaser, which is no surprise since he is primarily a live act, andChicago brings energy and precision to its performance of “Old Days,” belying its veteran status. Gloria Estefan closes the proceedings with a medley of her up-tempo Latin pop hits, acting just as if it’s almost 11 p.m. instead of before nine a.m. Happily, the “interviews” conducted by the obsequious hosts are kept to a minimum this time, though Katie Couric embarrasses herself by ogling Sting. An undisclosed percentage of profits from the record go to colon cancer research. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

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