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Barbara Steisand says no to pay-per-view

Barbara Steisand says no to pay-per-view — The singer’s New Year’s Eve show at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand will now be free to public viewers at home

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Money isn’t everything to Barbra Streisand. The diva’s decision to nix plans for a live pay-per-view broadcast of her New Year’s Eve show from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand hotel means her paycheck will be a lot less than the $20 million originally reported. Roughly $12 million of Streisand’s earnings for the two-night event — her first paid public concert in 27 years — was to come from PPV (with ticket sales and an undisclosed seven-figure fee from the hotel itself generating the remainder).

A notorious perfectionist, Streisand is opting instead to produce a cable or network special of her performance so that she can control all aspects of the concert in postproduction. But a television special may fetch the star only about $4 million. How will she make up some of the difference? Look for other products, such as an album and a home video. ”I’m sure we’d be thrilled to put out a Barbra Streisand album from those concerts,” says a Columbia Records spokesman, who adds that the decision is ultimately the singer’s.

One thing Streisand won’t have to worry about is filling the house. The MGM concerts sold out in one day, with more than a million callers (nearly 400,000 in the first four hours) jamming 96 phone lines to buy 25,610 tickets. ”The tickets [priced from $50 to $1,000] were snatched up as fast as we could sell them,” says a hotel vice president. Details are under wraps, but expect a two-hour performance of about 30 songs. Backing Streisand will be composer Marvin Hamlisch, who will lead a 62-piece orchestra, one of the largest to play Las Vegas in years.