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"We’re going to try to elevate the show even higher this year."
——Joel Gallen on a new season of Smash

LET'S SMASH AGAIN LIKE WE DID LAST SUMMER

Pepsi and the WB Will Bring Back Primetime Performance Show, with Joel Gallen Again at the Helm

Pepsi Smash, the first primetime live music performance show on a U.S. network since Hullaballoo and Shindig, will return to the WB Thursday night, May 27 at 8 p.m. for an eight-episode run.

Veteran music show producer Joel Gallen’s Tenth Planet will once again helm the program, which will shoot at an L.A. studio in front of a live studio audience.

"We’re going to try to elevate the show even higher this year," says Gallen. "Without the use of a bong."

Like last year, HITS’ own Karen Glauber will serve as the music talent booker, the point person for labels to get their acts on the program. Which means you can expect appearances from Phantom Planet, the Stills and Hanson.

"Karen will be even more involved this year," acknowledges Gallen. "And, if you want to get your acts on the show, a little something from Prada wouldn’t hurt."

Avril Lavigne, Usher and Hoobastank have already committed for the new season.

Pepsi Smash bowed on the WB last year on Wednesday, July 16, at 9 p.m. for six episodes. The program featured acts ranging from Beyoncé, Fabolous, Chingy, Black Eyed Peas and Monica to Evanescence, Foo Fighters, the Ataris and Queens of the Stone Age, as well as showcased new artists Gavin DeGraw, Interpol, Jason Mraz and Rooney.

Gallen insists both WB and Pepsi were "extremely pleased" with the show and are upping their commitment. "Coming back earlier will really help with promotion and the ratings," he says. "We come right after the May sweeps this year, so we can be promoted through the final episodes of all the WB shows."

The show’s format will continue to feature five acts performing one or two songs apiece. But this year, one of those groups will be filmed on location while on tour. "We want to give people a backstage glimpse, but more importantly, show one or two songs from the band’s tour," he says. "And Heavy Metal Parking Lot is one of my favorite films."

Pepsi will send out a "Smashmobile" to show up at various concert events around the country with one of the show’s correspondents.

This year’s edition will feature a "Smash Off," where viewers can vote online to decide which of two up-and-coming groups they’d like to see play the encore.

And while Gallen stresses the fact there are no "winners or losers," the act that gets the most votes on each of the two (East Coast and West Coast) feeds will play the finale on that particular show.

"We really want to take advantage of the two-stage format," he says. "I want to go on the road and shoot a package for each of these groups, so people can get to know them a little bit and have more of a vested interest."

Gallen plans to shoot each of the two groups doing a second closing number, then allow viewers on both coasts to choose their favorite online.

"There could be different endings for each feed," said Gallen. "And I can always sell the outtakes on e-Bay."

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