VH1 to launch a slew of (gasp!) buttoned-up programming. Is this a good thing? | EW.com

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VH1 to launch a slew of (gasp!) buttoned-up programming. Is this a good thing?

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xtina-AguileraImage Credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesVH1 is getting more real – and shockingly unshocking – with an across-the-board programming revamp that will include producing a record 44 original series this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Eschewing Flavor of Love and its ilk for more “authenticity” in its upcoming new reality, VH1 will bring viewers dozens of new shows such as You’re Cut Off, which aims to reform spoiled party girls, and Money Hungry, in which contestants can lose up to $10,000 of their own cash if they don’t cut calories. A whopping 40 percent of programming will return to the network’s original focus, music, starting with brand new Behind the Music and Storytellers episodes in June linked to Christina Aguilera’s forthcoming album Bionic.

As someone who lost perfectly good hours of her life to My Antonio, I welcome this possible resurgence of productivity; though I’ll probably lose those hours now to Behind the Music, which I have dearly missed, I will feel less bad about myself for that. What do you think of this VH1 makeover, PopWatchers? Are you ready for some Behind the Music, or will you miss watching various C-listers search for “love” on television?

Here, VH1’s official press-release run-downs of some of its other new shows:

My Big Friggin Wedding (working title)

My Big Friggin Wedding is a new VH1 docu-series that follows the high drama of five couples as they plan and execute the wildest weddings anyone has ever seen. Their budgets may not be the biggest, but their mouths sure are. And just because they’re in love doesn’t mean they see eye-to-eye on how it should all go down. Whether it’s smoke machines and lasers or a bride that wants to be lowered from the ceiling, remember, “classy” is in the eye of the beholder. The series will be produced by 495 Productions and executive produced by Sally Ann Salsano.

Wedding Wars (working title)

Wedding Wars is a new competition-elimination series where eager engaged couples vie against one another for a dream wedding. In every episode these passionate personalities will face wedding-themed challenges. The series will be produced by 495 Productions and executive produced by Sally Ann Salsano.

Diary of a Hip Hop Girlfriend

This docu-soap series follows four women who share a common bond: they understand the joys and pains of being in love with a big name rapper. Sure, there’s the glamorous lifestyle – full of bling, Bentleys and mansions. But behind closed doors, they struggle against shifting loyalties, baby-mama drama and the huge shadow cast by their larger-than-life partner. This 8-part series charts the women as they navigate their relationships with the men they love while they try to maintain a sense of self in the eye of the hip hop hurricane. Executive produced by Mona Scott of Monamie Entertainment and Toby Barraud and Stefan Springman of NFG-TV.

Fantasia for Real 2

Season 2 of Fantasia For Real will stay with recording artist, Broadway star and single mother Fantasia as she balances her complicated personal life with her desire to connect with her fans through music. As Fantasia works with her record label to promote her long awaited new album, she will continue trying to instill values of independence and integrity into her life and be a positive role model for her daughter Zion, older brother Teeny, no-nonsense Aunt Bunny and the rest of her family. The series is executive produced by Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder and co-executive produced by Jeremy Simmons.

Beso: Waiting on Fame

One of Eva Longoria Parker’s biggest passions is her Hollywood restaurant BESO. Since it is Hollywood, a lot of celebrities eat there, and a lot of aspiring celebrities work there. Beso is filled with big personalities – and that mix brings a lot of drama. This series is about the real stories of people waiting ON the famous…while waiting to BECOME famous. Created and executive produced by Cris Abrego and Eva Longoria. Ben Samek and Rabih Gholam also executive produce for the series.

Estranged with Dr. Drew

In each self-contained episode, Dr. Drew Pinsky will tackle one compelling relationship in ruins. With his guidance, the two participants discover that they must finally confront their broken relationship face-to-face in an intense and focused process that takes place over the course of day. In the end, they must decide if they want to make amends or remain estranged for good. The pilot will be produced by Picture This Television with executive producers Bryan Scott, Lisa Tucker and Leslie Goodman and Dr. Drew Productions with executive producers Dr. Drew Pinsky and Howard Lapides.

VH1 and the USO Present Divas Rock The Troops – December 2010

VH1 is taking its most legendary music event on the road to pay homage to the many men and women who serve in the armed forces. In true VH1 Divas’ fashion, a special group of female music superstars will sing their hearts out at military bases around the world. In another VH1 Divas first, the Divas will step out of their comfort zones and become soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for a day and learn what goes into being a true American hero. VH1 and the USO Present Divas Rock the Troops will be an event unlike anything seen before.

VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The Dirty South – Monday, June 7

VH1’s hugely successful annual tribute to the force that is hip hop music returns in June for a seventh time with a tribute to “The Dirty South” to honor those who infused the southern story into hip hop’s global message. Jermaine Dupri, J Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records, Luther “Luke” Campbell AND 2Live Crew, Master P, and Organized Noize are all being recognized through performances in collaboration with some of today’s hottest talent. Last year’s edition was the highest-rated VH1 Hip Hop Honors yet. VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The Dirty South will tape on June 3rd at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom and will air on VH1 on Monday, June 7 at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Behind The Music – new episodes begin airing in June

VH1’s Emmy-nominated and critically acclaimed series Behind The Music returns after a successful re-launch last summer with a new group of stellar artists including Golden Globe-nominated Courtney Love, Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, multiple Grammy Award winner Usher, Grammy winner and actress Eve, and Golden Globe-nominated actress and performer Jennifer Lopez and DMX. VH1 has re-imagined Behind The Music to now focus on some of the top current artists of today who have had a major impact or contribution to the music scene from rock to hip-hop to pop.

An Evening with Christina Aguilera – Sunday, June 13

VH1 offers unparalleled backstage access to five-time Grammy® award winning recording artist Christina Aguilera beginning that night with an all-new Behind the Music: Christina Aguilera followed by the premiere of VH1 Storytellers: Christina Aguilera. In the latest installment of VH1’s successful Behind the Music series, fans will get a behind-the-scenes look into the life of one of pop music’s biggest and most private stars. Christina will share personal stories, footage and photos, while her family, friends and colleagues open up about Christina’s childhood, early career and road to superstardom. Then, following in true “VH1 Storytellers” fashion, Christina will treat some of her closest fans to a uniquely thrilling performance of some of her greatest hits as well as new songs from her latest album, Bionic. Fans at the taping will also receive the rare opportunity to ask Christina questions about her music and hear stories on the inspiration behind her songs.

50’s Roots

50 Cent has always been framed – and defined – by the cold grim reality of coming up in South Jamaica Queens. But 50’s not merely a product of the street and his incredible, death-defying story of survival and success does not just begin with him. Like all African-Americans, there’s a greater journey … across thousands of miles…back through several family generations to slavery. Here, the legendary rapper, actor and business mogul will make an unprecedented trek to the Deep South in search of his family’s slave lineage. He’ll re-unite with living family members, and connect the dots on his ancestral heritage. 50’s Roots is a real-time journey into past lives and a shared history… of horror and hope, pain and perseverance. 50’s Roots is produced by Roadside Entertainment.

RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage – Premieres on VH1/VH1 Classic, Sat. June 26

This world premiere gives a comprehensive exploration of the history of legendary Canadian power trio Rush – from their early days growing up in Toronto, through each of their landmark albums, to the present day. With a career spanning four decades, RUSH (Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neal Peart) is one of the most successful bands in the history of popular music, but despite their remarkable career achievements, they have never been critics’ darlings. Directors Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn interview the band’s admirers and contemporaries, including Gene Simmons, Billy Corgan, Sebastian Bach, Jack Black, and others and also deliver rare backstage and concert footage.

Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies

Told through the eyes of rock and roll historian and super groupie Pamela Des Barres, author of the famous 1987 tell-all I’m With The Band, this 90-minute documentary offers memories of her sexual exploits and longtime escapades with such notorious rockers as Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Jimmy Page. This work is not only a tribute to the golden age of groupies, but also the golden age of rock ‘n roll. Pamela’s new book Let’s Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock’s Greatest Groupies provides the framework for this new documentary which follows Pamela as she visits many of these legendary women who re-emerge to share their intimate stories and the unexpected human side of their relationships with rock gods. Produced by Creature Films.

Friday Night Alright Concert Series – Friday nights, 11 PM ET/PT

VH1 continues to deliver new A-list concert performances from around the globe in its hit concert series Friday Night Alright. The network kicked off 2010 with this series, showcasing concert specials form acts like Madonna, U2, and Taylor Swift. New shows coming up include Usher, Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Stone Temple Pilots.

100 Greatest Artists Of All Time – Fall 2010

For decades, there have been countless arguments about who deserves the title of the greatest music artist ever. Now VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time is out to settle the debate once and for all. This 5-hour special will rank the biggest acts in music ranging from all genres including rock, pop, rap, and metal. Over ten years ago, VH1 asked music experts to pick the 100 greatest artists in the channel’s first countdown special. New music, artists and trends have emerged since this historical list. VH1 asked an academy of musicians and music journalists again to see which music pioneers still matter and which new artists rate amongst the greatest of this era.

Previously Announced 2010 New Series and Projects:

• Executive Producer Queen Latifah’s movie project in development with Flavor Unit Entertainment.

Dad Camp – A docu-reality series that tries to transform 6 irresponsible soon-to-be dads into respectable fathers. Premieres Monday, May 31.

Don’t Forget The Lyrics – Musical game show hosted by music artist and former Extra! co-host Mark McGrath. Premieres in September.

Football Wives – In the spirit of VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives, the series will focus on the women behind the men who play the nation’s most popular sport.

Ocho Cinco (working title) – Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver and Dancing With The Stars contestant Chad Ocho Cinco (formerly Chad Johnson) pursues happiness off the field. Premieres Sunday, July 11.

The OCD Project – From 3 Ball Productions, this new series centers on patients impacted by obsessive compulsive disorder living together as they strive to overcome their affliction.

Scream Queens 2 – Ten more aspiring actresses will get the chance to win a breakthrough role in Saw 3D, the next film in Lionsgate’s iconic Saw horror franchise. Premieres Monday, August 9.

The T.O. Show (season 2) – After his one season with the Bills, Terrell Owens is once again faced with finding another team in the off-season while having the chance to reconnect with his kids, as well as his ex, Kari. Debuts Sun., July 11.

Do Something Awards – VH1 has partnered with DoSomething.org to televise live the 2010 Do Something Awards on Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9 PM from Los Angeles. The five nominees for the Do Something Award will be rewarded with a community grant with the grand prize winner receiving $100,000.

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