*TV One revealed a slew of new original programming this week during its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
CEO Wonya Lucas announced the addition of 14 new series and specials, including three original sitcoms, two bio doc series in the vein of its critically acclaimed “Unsung,” and nine non-fiction entertainment series.
Among the new fare: a reality show featuring Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Keke Wyatt, Monifah Carter and Syleena Johnson; a comedy series starring comedian Rickey Smiley and a new season of “Unsung” featuring 8 new artists, including Gerald Levert.
Toni Judkins, TV One’s EVP of original programming, tipped TV critics to the network’s ambitious plans during its TCA Winter Press Tour presentation.
“One of the things that I’ve noticed is that when TV One puts more original programming on the air, our audience responds in record numbers,” she said. “So it makes a lot of sense for us to double the original programming that we have on the air. Now, by developing relatable programming that creates a realistic window into the authentic black life, we think that we can be more representative in who or what we are because African Americans are not a monolithic people. We have diverse cultures, and we have varied experiences. And we’ll take a cue from our bona fide hit “Unsung.” And by that I mean we’ll focus on great storytelling, relatable and passionate people and characters, and we will find those subjects that truly reflect what is happening in our lives.”
View TV One’s new and returning series below:
SAVE MY SON – is a powerful unscripted series that profiles the struggles of African American families to save their sons who have fallen victim to bad influences and bad choices. With the help of strong black male role models, these families, many of them led by single parents, will attempt to save these sons from leading a life estranged from their families and/or with heightened chances of their becoming another black male statistic in the criminal justice system. This groundbreaking series will go to communities to rescue young men from a range of dangerous activities. While many troubled youth come from the country’s most challenged urban neighborhoods, not all sons in need of help were reared in traditionally at-risk homes. The series looks to help a diverse group of individuals from different socio-economic groups and backgrounds. Each program features an intervention staged by loved ones, a therapist and the series host, Dr. Steve Perry, renowned educator, author and TV commentator. They work together to design the best possible plan of action to get the young man in crisis back on track. The series is produced for TV One by Powerhouse Productions. Save My Son is slated to premiere in 3rd quarter 2012.
UNRESOLVED: CELEBRITY CASES – This investigative series delves into controversial and sensational cases involving some of the most prominent entertainment figures of our time. Unresolved: Celebrity Cases seeks to uncover the truth behind headline-making events, such as celebrity homicides like the fatal hotel shooting of Sam Cooke or the murder of once up-and-coming R&B singer LaLa Brown; or unexplained mysteries, like the disappearance of basketball star Brian Williams aka Bison Dele and many more. Each episode introduces the case of a celebrated figure then it takes the audience through the rise of the celebrity’s life to an intimate exploration of their publicized tragedy or downfall. Through dramatic recreations surrounding the events, eyewitness accounts, culture experts, family, friends and/or colleagues, a clear picture emerges of the days leading up to the fateful moment and thereafter. Created and produced by K2 Pictures. Slated to premiere in 4th quarter 2012.
THE LADIES OF R&B — is an hour long series that follows the current lives of R&B singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Keke Wyatt, Monifah Carter and Syleena Johnson. They share their pain, suffering and joy as they work hard and lean on each other to put their lives back together. The series will follow them solo, together and in different combinations as they not only fight to get their lives on track but also to pay their good fortune forward. Divorce, parenting, drugs and alcohol, physical abuse and more – these ladies have survived it all and continue to deal with life’s battles each day. It is their personal mission to help other women in need. If women can learn from their mistakes, it was all worth it. They will love each other, fight with each other and celebrate with each other because there is one constant in their lives — their friendship. This sisterhood cannot be stopped. Produced by ThinkFactory Media. Slated to premiere in 3rd quarter 2012.
BERNIE MAC: A TRIBUTE TO A COMEDY KING –TV One has signed a development deal with Ultrawave Vision to present an elegant tribute to one of the great Kings of Comedy, Bernie Mac. Plans for the special presentation include bringing together top entertainers who will revisit the comedy, the films, and the life of one of the world’s greatest humorist. Family, friends, and colleagues will gather, dine and toast Bernie’s most memorable film clips, comedy routines, and special appearances. Comedians old and new will perform in his honor and his favorite bands and musical performers will sing to his memory.
THE RICKEY SMILEY SHOW – a sitcom starring comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley, who plays on the show a character loosely based on his own life – a popular, local DJ based in Atlanta, who is the single father to four adopted children. The show’s stories are derived from Rickey¹s attempt to raise his children by himself and still have a personal life, as well as the situations that occur at the radio station, which is a hot bed of office politics, back stabbing, sexual innuendo, social issues, celebrity appearances, music and, of course, humor. Produced by Bobcat Films.
DESTINED – is a new bio-series that picks up on the popularity of TV One’s Unsung series, and takes a nostalgic look back at the best, brightest and most beloved African American actors who have touched our lives in film and television. We know their names, we know their faces, and we are mesmerized by their talent. A relentless focus, drive and love for their craft set them on a journey to stardom. Through struggles and triumphs, these gifted individuals were determined to make their dreams come true by any means necessary, simply put…they were DESTINED. Witness the rise, fall and the determination of those who were Destined for stardom.
BELLES–a new sitcom centered around an upscale soul food restaurant owned and operated by the widowed patriarch Big Bill Cooper. Belle, Bill’s wife, passed several years ago, leaving him with his hands full: a restaurant to run and three daughters to raise. Produced by legendary producer Ed Weinberger and Miguel Nunez.
CHURCH FOLK – a new sitcom produced in conjunction with Code Black Entertainment about The Hunters, a prestigious First Family, who are forced to leave their newly built mega-church in Los Angeles and start over back home in their native South, determined to rebuild their empire there. The last thing they would have wanted turns out to be exactly what they need, because sometimes having it all starts with having less.
UNSUNG – TV One returns with eight new episodes of its widely acclaimed and NAACP Image Award-nominated bio series Unsung in 4th quarter 2012 and 16 new episodes beginning in 1st quarter 2013.This NAACP Image Award-winning series of one-hour biography specials celebrates the lives and careers of successful artists or groups who, despite great talent, over the years have been under-recognized or under-appreciated. Unsung reveals the multiple factors that have kept these artists from achieving the iconic commercial status they deserved. And, in the process, these specials “sing” the praises and celebrate the artistry that has kept fellow artists and fans talking about them for years. TV One just completed its highest-rated season ever of Unsung on March 12, and, prior to 4th quarter, will debut eight new episodes beginning in June 2012, including Sly Stone, Gerald Levert, the Marvelettes, Kool Moe Dee, Angela Bofil, Arrested Development and Confunkshun. A. Smith & Co. produces Unsung for TV One.
LIFE AFTER – TV One returns in4th quarter 2012 with 10 new episodes of its buzzed about series Life After, the real, behind-the-scenes story of how some of America’s favorite celebrities have dealt with major turning points in their lives, be those moments public or private, triumphant or tragic. Part biography, part confessional and all celebration of the human spirit, each episode of Life After focuses on a well-known person or group and tells the story of a transformative event in their lives and its effects upon them ever afterward. Personalities featured in Unsung in fall 2012 will include Olympic athlete Marion Jones, singer Karyn White, actress BernNadette Stanis, and legendary recording industry executive Andre Harrell. K2 Pictures produces Life After for TV One.
FIND OUR MISSING – TV One’s docu-drama designed to put names and faces on people of color who have disappeared without a trace is hosted by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order). Each episode tells the story of the missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished and the frantic searches by loved ones and investigators to find them. Find Our Missing provides insight into these victims’ lives –their hopes and dreams, what makes them tick, and how they have touched those around them – from the people who know them best. The series also offers a call to action and is partnered by a robust, online component (tvone.tv) where viewers can learn more information and provide tips, as well as learn pointers on how to keep their families safe. Produced for TV One by Towers Productions.
WASHINGTON WATCH WITH ROLAND MARTIN – - TV One political editor, CNN and Tom Joyner Morning Show analyst Roland Martin hosts a weekly public affairs series on TV One that focuses on issues that are critical to African Americans, through interviews with officials from the Administration, Congress and other policymakers who represent black communities, as well as discussions with journalists and commentators, and a wide range of policy experts. Washington Watch with Roland Martin also explores a wide range of timely and relevant topics including history, books, music, films, technology and black culture. Produced for TV One by Jay Feldman.
TV ONE NIGHT ONLY: LIVE FROM THE ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL – This two-hour highlights celebration captures exhilarating performances from some of the biggest names in entertainment that occur over three nights on the main stage from the country’s largest annual gathering celebrating African-American music and culture. In previous years, performances have included such artists as Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Ne-Yo, John Legend, Earth, Wind & Fire, Raphael Saadiq, and Gladys Knight. And, TV One Night Only takes the viewer where no other camera is allowed, to deliver the true emotion of the talent backstage. Produced in conjunction with Essence Communications Inc.
TV ONE ON ONE WITH CATHY HUGHES – A series of specials hosted by Radio One Chairperson and former radio talk show host Catherine Hughes featuring interviews with some of the most intriguing and newsworthy public figures and celebrities in America today. Guests have included (then Senate candidate) President Barack Obama, Secretary of State (then Sen. Hillary Clinton), Minister Louis Farrakhan, Academy Award-winning actors Denzel Washington, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé, Tyler Perry, Aretha Franklin and box office superstar Will Smith.