Costello to host new CTV music series

An Elvis Costello-hosted talk/music series developed by the Canadian net will also air on the Sundance Channel in the US and Channel 4 in the UK.

Spectacle: Elvis Costello Presents is a 13 x 60 series structured as a Canada/UK co-production by Toronto-based Tri-Fi Productions and Elton John’s Rocket Pictures.

The CTV series, billed as an Inside the Actors Studio for musicians, will feature singer/songwriter Costello interviewing legendary and newcomer musicians on their art and secrets of their craft, not their personal lives.

The idea for a music master class series, which will start production next week in New York City on the first four episodes, was originally hatched nearly a decade ago by Canadian music journalist Stephen Warden. ‘I’d always thought that people were fascinated by musicians and wanted to be a fly-on-the-wall when sitting in the room while Keith Richards or Eric Clapton were being interviewed.’

Warden and his producing partner, Entertainment lawyer Jordan Jacobs, did several treatments for the series, and then hooked up with Toronto-based film producer Martin Katz of Prospero Pictures, who knew Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, of Rocket Pictures, after they worked together on a Toronto movie shoot.

John and Furnish in turn opened a conversation with Costello, who was widely agreed to be perfect as the series host, given his personality and music knowledge. The Toronto producers and Furnish eventually sold CTV’s Ivan Fecan and Susanne Boyce on the project during a lunch in Los Angeles.

‘The idea of doing anything with Elton John is thrilling, and David [Furnish] helped connect the dots,’ Boyce, CTV’s president, creative, content and channels, recalls of that brain-storming lunch. She adds that Spectacle will diverge from the garden-variety interview formats on MTV or MuchMusic to both illuminate and explain the building blocks of music inspiration for the world’s best-known musicians.

Sundance and Channel Four also signed on as partner broadcasters. The series’ producers intend to distribute select content from the Spectacle series on new media platforms. They remain tight-lipped about the musicians to appear on the series’ first season, though they promise ‘legends.’ There’s no word yet on when the series goes to air, or whether a second season is in the cards. ‘We all have our hands full. This is like planning a military invasion,’ says Warden.

From Playback Daily