It sounds like your worst Gen Y marketing nightmare: rather than wait until E3 to launch the Xbox 2/Xbox 360, Microsoft is going to break with game industry tradition (at least as much as the industry even has a tradition) and take the wraps off their next-gen console via a half-hour MTV special airing on May 12th that'll be hosted by Elijah Wood and feature a performance by The Killers as well as plenty of cameos by the usual round of athletes and celebs. Hardcore gamers might not like it (no one likes to feel like they're falling trap to some lame teen marketing machine), but Microsoft obviously believes that this next console is too big to be launched at a trade show event—they want to start building buzz on a global level from day one.
UPDATE: MSFT just released some more details about the broadcast. The program/infomercial will be called "MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed", be hosted by "entertainment icon, seasoned gamer and Xbox fanatic Elijah Wood", and premiere on May 12th at 9:30pm EDT. Click if you want to see the schedule for the rest of the world.
North America: Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 p.m. (21:30)
Japan/Asia: Friday, May 13, at 11:30
France: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
Germany: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
Italy: Friday, May 13, at 23:30
Netherlands: Friday, May 13, at 19:30
Poland: Friday, May 13, at 21:00 Portugal: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
Romania: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
Scandinavia: Friday, May 13, at 22:00 Spain: Friday, May 13, at 21:30
U.K.: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
Australia: Friday, May 13, at 19:00