VH1 definitely is rah-rah about its NBA cheerleader soap, giving it a third season pickup-and-roll two weeks before its Season 2 finale. Hit The Floor will return for 10 episodes starting in May. According to the network, the ensemble series about the fictional Los Angeles Devils Girls cheer squad is the No. 1 ad-supported scripted drama on cable among women 18-49. It stars Dean Cain, Kimberly Elise, Taylour Paige, Logan Browning, Valery Ortiz, Katherine Bailess, Jonathan McDaniel, McKinley Freeman, Rob Riley, Adam Senn, Brent Antonello, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe and Don Stark. “Hit The Floor delivered again with fantastic ratings and social media engagement in season two, especially among women,” said Susan Levison, EVP Original Programming & Production at VH1. “We look forward to seeing what kind of trouble the Devil Girls will get into next season.”
At the outset of VH1‘s TCA session on its new Nicole Richie reality series, TV critics watched a clip in which she is driven up to Daddy’s estate because, she explains to Lionel, she does not know how to parallel park. That seems a bit thin, given that Daddy’s estate has a driveway about the size of Rhode Island, but that’s reality TV for you. Lionel announces he will teach Nicole how to parallel park, using a trash can to represent one car parked at a curb, and cutout of himself as the other car. Nicole “struggles” to parallel park her car, taking out Cardboard Lionel several times before finally getting it right. And the press watching the clip learn that her new-model Mercedes doesn’t come with auto-parallel-park-assist — at least, not for purposes of VH1 and Candidly Nicole‘s version of “reality.” Mercedes reps: Direct your question/comment to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org — they’re listed as the press contacts for the show.
Anyway, after she masters parallel parking, Lionel congratulates his daughter with a hug. “You would never know I had two DUIs,” Nicole replies. “Yeah — we can get that cleaned up too,” Dad says.
Today’s TCA panels on new VH1 shows were preceded by EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison begging TV critics to approach VH1’s new series Dating Naked without “preconceived notions”. (Check out the clip below).
This was a tall order since the executive also said that the show had not been screened for critics because the production team was still putting “the final blurs” over the daters’ genitalia. Still, the audience chuckled good-naturedly at a clip in which a naked male dater setting out on a date on the water said: “If I get excited, we’re going to need a big boat.”
There have been a lot of hip hop documentaries over the years but few have been as extensive and with such a variety of interviewees as The Tanning Of America: One Nation Under Hip-Hop. Shown in four hourlong parts on VH1 earlier this year, the docu from former music industry exec and marketing man Steve Stoute is truly a wide ranging and deep cuts examination of a culture and how a genre that originated in the Bronx in the 70s has come to influence American life more than musically. A producer on 2013’s Ron Howard-helmed docu Made In America, Stoute reached into his extensive network for Tanning to get not just the director plus Dr. Dre, Russell Simmons, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Iovine, Rick Rubin, Brian Grazer, Fab 5 Freddy and Norman Lear among others on camera. Hosted by Stoute and based on his 2011 book of the same name, the Billy Corben directed docu with narration by Scandal’s Kerry Washington mixed in the high profile interviews with comprehensive footage tracking the evolution of hip hop. An evolution that brought down racial barriers in America and helped elect a President, says the EP.
DEADLINE: Steve, you’re a busy guy. Why add a documentary series to the workload? And not just a documentary but a 4-hour, 4-part documentary.
STEVE STOUTE: Well, you know, Dominic, what happened was, when I wrote the book, I was inspired by the response that I’ve gotten from a lot of my peers in …
VH1 has ordered the eight-episode hourlong docuseries TransAmerica (working title) from Tyra Banks (America’s Next Top Model) and Gay Rosenthal (Behind The Music) for a late-2014 or early-2015 premiere. The series chronicles a group of Chicago women who are united by the shared experience of being transgender and follows them as they navigate dating, family and professional ambitions. The cast includes: Carmen Carrera, who was recently signed to Elite Model Management and is on the path to becoming a supermodel and recognized as a leading advocate in the transgender community as constantly balances her career goals with her personal life; Giselle, a recent college graduate who is focused on continuing her education as she prepares for her upcoming sexual reassignment surgery; Natalia, a beauty consultant for Christian Dior cosmetics who is faced with the challenge of trying to reconnect with some of her family and gaining their support; Sidney, the ultimate party girl, who’s struggling with the idea of juggling a social life and professional goals; and Victory, who dreams of becoming a doctor but must deal with the discrimination she receives as a transgender woman. The series is executive produced by Banks for The Tyra Banks Company, Rosenthal for Gay Rosenthal Productions and Mark Schulman for 3 Arts Entertainment. Executive producers for VH1 are Susan Levison and Nina L. Diaz.
VH1 has tapped Amy Paffrath as host of its new reality series Dating Naked. Paffrath most recently hosted MTV’s Jersey Shore After Hours and Jersey Shore Reunion. The former E! News correspondent and host of MSN’s Last Night On TV has previously guested on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, TBS’ Sullivan And Son and TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland. She is repped by UTA and Karen Forman Management. Dating Naked was created and produced by Lighthearted Entertainment. It premieres July 17 at 9 PM.
VH1 has pulled the plug on Best Week Ever, the weekly comedic commentary on pop culture. “Best Week Ever was a pioneer in pop culture commentary on television when it launched in 2004, delivering its signature blend of comedy and tongue-in-cheek opinions on the most entertaining news and pop culture stories of the previous seven days,” the network said in a statement. “The series also served as a national launching pad for many talented creatives and comedians. We thank them, and the viewers who tuned in each week.”
Best Week Ever premiered in 2004 as a platform for comedians to comment on the week’s events in pop culture. It switched to a single-host format four years later with Paul F. Tompkins at the helm. Best Week Ever was first cancelled in 2010 but was resurrected two years later and resumed airing in January 2013. Comedians who have served as panelists through the years — some of them getting their break on the show — include Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Nick Kroll, Pete Holmes, Big Bang Theory‘s Melissa Rauch, Mo Rocca, Jessica St. Clair, Judah Friedlander and Paul Scheer.
EXCLUSIVE: As many as 13 VH1 staffers have been let go, we have learned. That represents the bulk of the network’s New York development and production team who have overseen such series as Mob Wives. Among the departing are VPs East Coast production and development Brad Abramson and Kari McFarland. The move comes a month after VH1 brought in veteran showrunner Nina Diaz (Mob Wives) as SVP East Coast Production and Development. She is expected to build a new New York development and production team. Additionally, some of the vacated positions are expected to be filled by people with different skill sets, including some servicing the network’s app. “With ratings on an upswing and the pace of development increasing cross platform, we felt it was the right time to examine our overall production and development structure in New York,” VH1 said in a statement to Deadline. “It’s imperative we accurately structure our teams to deliver the content that our growing number of viewers want from VH1 today.” VH1 has operations on both coasts with its development headquarters located in Los Angeles where new EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison is based.
Leonard Roberts has been cast in VH1‘s Drumline 2: A New Beat, co-written by Karen Gist and Regina Hicks. The sequel to the 2002 feature Drumline feature focuses on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The story follows Danielle (Dani) Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Roberts will reprise his role of Sean Taylor from the 2002 pic. Fox TV Studios is co-financing and looking at the project as a possible back-door pilot. Leonard, repped by Greene & Associates and Evolution Entertainment, can be seen in upcoming features Any Day and My Favorite Five.
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EXCLUSIVE: From Twitter, to the Web to TV. That is the route Nicole Richie has taken with #CandidlyNicole, which, in a competitive situation, has been given a straight-to-series order by VH1 for eight episodes to premiere July 17l. Additionally, the network has signed a first look/development deal with Richie’s Honey Child Prods.
Reality series #CandidlyNicole, produced by Telepictures and World of Wonder, is based on Richie’s popular AOL online series of the same name, which in turn was based on Richie’s irreverent Twitter feed. “Nicole’s sharp, acerbic sense of humor and broad audience appeal make #CandidlyNicole a perfect fit for the VH1 brand,” said Susan Levison, VH1’s EVP Original Programming & Development. “Viewers will enjoy her unique point of view and earnest look at pop culture as well as her fearless exploration of anything and everything taboo.”
The veteran showrunner behind such series as Mob Wives, My Super Sweet 16 and Real Housewives Of New Jersey has been named SVP East Coast Production and Development for VH1. In her new role, Nina Diaz will oversee unscripted programming developed and produced out of VH1’s New York office. She will be based in New York and report to Susan Levison, EVP Original Programming and Production for VH1. Diaz most recently served as SVP Head of Current Production at Left/Right Productions, where she was responsible for multiple series including VH1′s Mob Wives franchise and spinoffs as well as A&E’s Rodeo Girls. As an independent exec producer, Diaz launched Real Housewives Of New Jersey and exec produced and helped develop the formatted competition series Homemade Millionaire hosted by Kelly Ripa.
VH1‘s half-hour unscripted comedy series This Is Hot 97 will premiere March 31 at 10:30 PM. It takes viewers behind-the scenes at New York’s No. 1 radio station HOT 97, known as the place “Where Hip Hop Lives.” VH1 also partners with Ryan Seacrest Productions on White Girls Of Rap (working title), slated for a fall 2014 premiere. Series follows five up-and-coming white female rappers as they hustle to establish credibility in an industry that isn’t known for being the most welcoming. Other new unscripted series are I ♥ Nick Carter which follows Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter as he prepares to take a walk down the aisle with fiancee Lauren Kitt. It’s set for summer 2014 debut. And Swab Stories follows entrepreneur Jared Rosenthal, the owner of “Who’s Your Daddy,” a mobile DNA testing service based in New York City. It’s set to premiere in September.
Single Ladies helped usher drama series programming on VH1. Now the show, from Queen Latifah‘s Flavor Unit, is set to end its run after three seasons. Single Ladies‘ third season is currently airing, with the upcoming March 24 season finale serving as series finale. “We’ve been proud to deliver three seasons of the drama, romance and style that engaged viewers in each episode of Single Ladies,” VH1 said in a statement to Deadline. “Although we’ve decided not to move forward with another season, we hope to work again with the talented cast, creatives and producers as well as our partners at Flavor Unit Entertainment in the near future. We also thank the show’s fans for their support since the premiere in 2011.”
Comedic drama series Single Ladies started off as a movie before becoming VH1′s first hourlong scripted series. Its success opened the door to Hit The Floor, which became a breakout hit in its launch last summer, and drama Hindsight, which was just picked up to series. There were bumps on the road. Shortly after VH1 renewed Single Ladies for a third season in August 2012, creator/executive producer Stacy A. Littlejohn exited the project. Season 3 didn’t launch until this January, a year and a half after it was ordered. Still, Single Ladies is leaving on a high note. Its third season opener drew 2.6 million viewers. For the premiere airing and its same night encore …
VH1 is expanding its scripted portfolio with Hindsight, handing out a 10-episode series pickup to the hourlong scripted drama pilot from writer Emily Fox (Jane By Design) and Timberman-Beverly for a premiere in early 2015. The project, previously developed at NBC, marked the first scripted pilot order for VH1′s new head of development Susan Levison. Now it is her first scripted series pickup and a followup to the network’s first hourlong scripted series, the Queen Latifah-produced Single Ladies, and summer breakout Hit the Floor. The network most recently had scripted success with the highly rated TLC biopic and just greenlighted a Drumline sequel with Nick Cannon.
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Hindsight, whose pilot was directed by Michael Trim, is set in 1990s New York and stars Laura Ramsey, Legend Of The Seeker‘s Craig Horner and Sarah Goldberg.
Looking to cash in on the new naked reality TV genre — think of the wardrobe money to be saved — VH1 has greenlit new series Naked Dating, which the network boasts is all about exploring “the art of romance free of pre-conceived notions, stereotypes.” Because the VH1 target audience has no pre-conceived notions or stereotypes about body type. Once everyone has “stripped away the artifices of our modern world and revealed their ultimate, honest selves,” VH1 promises the results will be surprising. The hosted series will consist of 10 one-hour episodes, and the network promises they “will be edited according to network standards.” You’ll want to tune in to see if the traditional dating-show make-out sessions — think The Bachelor, etc — passes muster with the network’s Decency Police when the make-out-ees are not wearing any clothing.
The long-rumored Drumline sequel is a go at VH1. The network has given the green light to Drumline: A New Beat (tentative title), its next original movie to follow the very successful TLC biopic. Nick Cannon, who played the lead in the 2002 Drumline feature in a star-making turn, will be back, reprising his role as well as executive producing alongside the Fox 2000 film’s producers Wendy Finerman, Jody Gerson and Dallas Austin. Regina Hicks and Karin Gist are writing the script, with filming slated to begin in the spring for a fall 2014 premiere. VH1 is producing with Fox TV Studios, whose parent company owns the rights to the movie. “Drumline has become one of those beloved cornerstone films for a generation, always generating high ratings when we air it on VH1,” said the network’s EVP Susan Levison.
Drumline: A New Beat is not a traditional sequel as it focuses on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The story follows Danielle (Dani) Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Dani’s quest to become the first female section leader of the drumline in the school’s history will be hampered by upperclassmen (including her cousin, Tyree); her feelings for fellow band mate and rival, …
EXCLUSIVE: Jojo Ryder and Akon have been collaborators for years, and now Ryder will head the multihyphenate’s company. Ryder, whose producing credits include the VH1 series For The Love Of Ray J and Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business, has been named president of Konlive Productions. “Jojo is a producer in every sense of the word,” said Akon, Konlive’s owner and CEO. “Whatever he sets his sights on he figures out a way to get it done. Making him president of my production company formalizes a job he was essentially already doing at a very high level for me.” Ryder is executive producing the feature American Heist, starring Hayden Christensen and Adrien Brody, and the Konlive-produced matchmaking documentary Make It Last Forever, on which Akon also served as an exec producer.
EXCLUSIVE: Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Senn and newcomer Brent Antonello are joining the cast of VH1‘s basketball-themed drama Hit The Floor as new regulars in Season 2. O’Keefe, repped by Vincent Cirrincione Associates, will play Lionel Davenport, the estranged wife of Pete Davenport, the former All-Star who coaches the Los Angeles Devils basketball team, who cares less about basketball or dancing than getting under Pete’s skin. Senn, repped by Innovative Artists, will play Zero, a superstar basketball player traded to the Devils. He’s an all-American, God-fearing athlete— a marketer’s dream — but there’s more to Zero and his well-crafted image than meets the eye. Senn is with Talent and Literary Agency. Antonello, repped by Talent House LA and Creative Partners Group, will play Jude, an ambitious junior sports agent. She’s a schemer who wants nothing more than to be the right-hand man to Oscar, head of the Devils organization. VH1 said Hit the Floor, created by James LaRosa, was the #1 new cable scripted series of the summer among adults 18-49. Season 2 starts shooting on January 31 for a summer premiere.