It became quite obvious last week that VH1 will never run out of has-been stars to fill ”celebreality” series. On March 6 the network announced its fall lineup, and along with spin-offs Brooke Hogan Knows Best and New York Goes to Hollywood, it includes a couple of typically oddball new programs: The Cho Show (starring Margaret Cho) and Luke’s Parental Advisory (with former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell). VH1 is famous for transforming ex-celebs into TV stars (see: Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels, Hulk Hogan), and clearly somebody over there knows what they’re doing. The season finale of Flavor of Love 2 drew 7.5 million viewers, making it the No. 1 telecast in the network’s 23-year history, and I Love New York and Hogan Knows Best have also scored impressive ratings.
But Margaret Cho? Luther Campbell? Really? ”We just look for interesting characters with funny and interesting stories to tell,” says Jeff Olde, VH1’s executive vice president of original programming and production. ”We don’t really place a judgment on where they are in their life.” With Campbell, the network is hoping to explore the contrast between his relatively normal family and his thriving adult-entertainment business. As for Cho, Olde and his staff are fans of her stand-up, which involves over-the-top stories about her Korean-American upbringing. ”I’m really excited, because I love all the reality shows on VH1,” Cho says. ”Flavor of Love is great. I’m a little bit obsessed about the Bret Michaels show. And Mo’Nique’s Charm School was one of the best shows ever on television…incredibly powerful and insightful and funny.”
That’s exactly the kind of reaction Olde hopes for when casting these shows. ”We’re looking for people that feel like they’re real and reflective of the viewing public,” he says. Oh, and there is one other thing: ”I like characters that look like and feel like they need a little spanking.” We bet Flav agrees.