CTV’s Spectacle Completes Production of Four Episodes

From a media release:

Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed and former U.S. President Bill Clinton among headliners

With filming of four episodes of the highly anticipated new series Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… complete, CTV announced today the initial guest lineup for the groundbreaking new music television series. The series boasts an impressive international guest list which includes Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, artist-director Julian Schnabel and former President Bill Clinton. Additional guests appearing this season will be announced soon. Production of Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… continues this summer and fall; the series will premiere later this year on CTV and Bravo!

As previously announced, the Canada/United Kingdom co-production will air on CTV in Canada, Channel 4 in the UK and the Sundance Channel in the U.S. (broadcast schedule is yet to be announced). FremantleMedia Enterprises will handle sales of the show to the rest of the world.

Fusing the best of talk and music television, the first episode taped for this 13-part series invites viewers to enjoy an intimate conversation between host Elvis Costello and Spectacle Executive Producer Sir Elton John before they make music history by performing together for the first time on television.

“I’m hoping that future shows continue to embody the great joy, passion and celebration of music we’ve had thus far, mixed with rare poignant and powerful moments,” said Spectacle host Elvis Costello. “It’s early to say too much about Spectacle other than it has been a wonderful and surprising experience.”

“You very rarely get to hear what a great musician has to say. You’re on and off in five minutes,” said Sir Elton John. “This is an intelligent show hosted by an extremely intelligent man – with intelligent artists as guests … and to get this on tape is important. It’s very hard to do something like this … give Elvis 10 out of 10 for balls.”

“This eclectic group of international performers will not only provide memorable performances, but through the intimate environment of the show, viewers will also be exposed to a new side of some of their favourite musicians,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

“Elvis Costello plus three music legends, an art world maverick and one uniquely engaged former President of the United States produced some of the most insightful conversations about music (and a few other things), as well as a stack of extraordinary and original musical performances that were almost certainly once-in-a-lifetime moments. All in all, not a bad start,” said Executive Producer and creator Stephen Warden.

“My partners and I set out to make a program that we would want to watch. Spectacle is an unapologetically intelligent and massively entertaining show about music and contemporary culture that has no parallel in television today. Our first few episodes feature a knight, a president and the guitar player to the king,” added Executive Producer Martin Katz, referring to Sir Elton John, President Bill Clinton and James Burton, Elvis Presley’s long-time band member.

Additional musical special guests confirmed for this season include musicians Davey Faragher, Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve of The Imposters; guitarist James Burton, who played with Elvis Presley; legendary producer, pianist, writer, arranger and singer Allen Toussaint; three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden; jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny, winner of 17 Grammy Awards; jazz pianist Bill Charlap; Larry Campbell and Tony Garnier of Bob Dylan’s touring band; keyboard player Kevin Hearn, of Barenaked Ladies; and violinist/vocalist Jenny Scheinman. More will be announced soon.

The series of 13 one-hour episodes of Spectacle will feature everything from intimate one-on-ones with legendary performers and notable newcomers to thematic panel discussions.

The program’s eclecticism and depth reflect its uniquely qualified host. Elvis Costello is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee; a Grammy and Ivor Novello Award-winning (and Oscar-nominated) songwriter and performer comfortable in almost every genre imaginable; a musicologist of formidable breadth and knowledge; a contributor to Vanity Fair magazine; and a noted wit whose stint as guest host on The Late Show with David Letterman won rave reviews.

Consistent with Sir Elton John’s long-standing commitment to philanthropy and music, the series producers have struck an exciting association with the (Product) RED (www.joinred.com) campaign created to raise awareness and money for the Global Fund (www.theglobalfund.org) to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa. Select program excerpts and performances will be distributed in a variety of new media and conventional platforms, with a portion of the profits directed to the Global Fund.

The producers of Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… are Stephen Warden, former music journalist and artist manager (Remy Shand) of reinvention entertainment; entertainment lawyer Jordan Jacobs (numerous Grammy and JUNO winners) of SpyBox Pictures; and film producer Martin Katz (Hotel Rwanda) of Prospero Pictures. The three, based in Toronto, formed Tri-Fi Productions to produce the series in partnership with David Furnish and Steve Hamilton-Shaw of Rocket Pictures.

The series is produced in association with CTV, Sundance Channel, Channel 4 and FremantleMedia. Executive Producers are Sir Elton John, Elvis Costello, David Furnish, Steve Hamilton-Shaw, Jordan Jacobs, Martin Katz and Stephen Warden. Co-Executive Producer is Alex Coletti.