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'Elvis' Announces Cirque du Soleil Venture

Elvis Presley is going on a worldwide circus tour.

CKX Inc., the parent company of Elvis Presley Enterprises, announced a long-term joint venture Thursday with Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian-based acrobatic troupe known for its extravagant theatrical and acrobatic productions.

Cirque du Soleil (French for circus of the sun) will produce a series of shows focused on Presley's life and music and help design interactive, multimedia museums called "Elvis Experiences," CKX said.

"The partnership promises to not only keep Elvis alive but also to bring a new perspective and vibrancy to Elvis that only the people at Cirque du Soleil could do," said CKX chief executive Robert F.X. Sillerman.

Touring productions are expected to get under way in about 18 months in Europe and Asia with the first of a series of "Elvis Experience" museum opening later in 2008, Sillerman said from his headquarters in New York.

Production schedules and museum sites are as yet unsettled.

CKX also owns the American Idol TV show and other entertainment ventures.

Cirque du Soleil, begun in 1984, is scheduled to stage 13 shows this year, including one set to open in Las Vegas next month based on the music of the Beatles.