Okay, so maybe that headline is a bit harsh. But honestly: Washed-up R&B crooner Brian McKnight is getting his own weekly variety show? At this rate, who else of his ilk can we expect to come out of the woodwork next with half-baked plans for some sort of TV-fueled rebirth: K-Ci & Jo Jo? Seal? Blackstreet? Hell, Montell Jordan? Monifah? Or wait: Maybe these folks will just be the guests on McKnight’s show. That actually sounds about right in context.
Truly, my uneasiness about this news comes from a place of love and concern. I respect Brian McKnight. “Anytime” was one of my jams in high school. The guy has a discography that goes on for days, if not weeks. (Another gem: “Back at One.”) He’s worked with everyone under the sun — Mary J. Blige, Mase, Diddy, and Christina Aguilera, to name just a few. He’s been nominated for dozens of awards and taken home statues from the American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and the Soul Train Awards.
But, while I do still respect him, I’m wondering if he respects himself enough to realize how pathetic such a move seems. I was a fan back in the day. Repeat: Back in the day. Like, nearly 10 years ago. The show is set to feature comedians, musicians, and entertainers. Sounds very familiar. So myquestion is: If Rosie O’Donnell can’t revive the variety format, whatmakes Brian McKnight — who’s got far less cultural cache than her, especially now — thinkhe can?
The only thing that quells my fears about this truly bad ideais that it’s weekly and it’s syndicated. Translation: It’s easily avoidable and probably won’t make much of a splash.When the news was released, the show’s executive producer Dave Morgan was quoted as saying, “We think television needs a fresh, hip face predisposed to succeed with millions and millions of built-in fans.” Oh, the delusion. And, oh, if it were only 1999.
But, now that I’ve ranted, I’m interested in what you guys think: Good, bad, or inspired? When’s the last time you even thought about Brian McKnight? And a larger question: Do you think it’s worth trying to even revive the variety format? And is Brian McKnight really the person to do it?