*BET’s 3-part biopic, “The New Edition Story,” attracted 29 million viewers during premiere week (including encores across BET and Centric).
On BET alone it attracted 15.7MM viewers in the 18-49 target demo, and 28.4MM total viewers P2+ in its full premiere week (Live + Same Day viewing).
“The New Edition Story” (Parts One and Three) were the highest rated and most watched telecasts in five years on BET, per Shadow and Act.
The miniseries aired three consecutive nights and was the:
· #1 Cable Telecast in Prime of FY17 among African Americans (P18-49)
· #1 and #2 Weeknight Telecasts of FY17 on ALL Cable (P18-49), excluding News & Sports
· #1 Cable Program in its Premiere Week (P18-49), excluding sports
· #1 Cable Telecast for 3 consecutive days (P18-49)
· #1 Most Social TV program for the 3rd consecutive days, with premiere telecasts totaling 6MM Social Media Interactions
“The New Edition Story” also dominated on social media all three nights the pic aired (January 24th-26th). Celebrities and viewers took to social media to express love for the series, with 3.8 million people generating over 4.74 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter over the 3-day period. Additionally, on Twitter and BET, “The New Edition Story” drove the top 20 trending topics each night.
“New Edition — supergroup like none other. No other group has produced so many individual solo stars. No group has started out really as a teen sensation group and transitioned into adult superstars. No one has done that and they need to be celebrated. They need to have their story told because it’s such a great story of brotherhood and I think it will be very inspiring for people,” Executive Producer Jesse Collins told EUR/Electronic Urban Report during the Television Critics Association Winter Press tour last month.
“The New Edition Story” follows the iconic group from their humble beginnings as kids in Boston to global megastardom. Starring Bryshere Y. Gray (“Empire”), Elijah Kelley (The Butler, “The Wiz Live!”), Grammy® nominated singer/songwriter Luke James, Keith Powers (“Straight Outta Compton”), Algee Smith (“Let It Shine”) and Woody McClain (“Autographs”), an encore of the series is set to air on BET Feb. 20.
“I guess what I’ve learned, and I just heard this…I’m quoting Michael Bivens, but i think what I’ve gained, what we’ve gained from this whole story and telling this story…the story isn’t about New Edition against New Edition. It’s about New Edition versus the music industry,” Luke James told us during TCA. “It’s about them surviving it. And yes there are things that happened in it but it was all for a goal. And being young in it you try to figure it out, and pride gets in the way.”
He continued, “But 33 years later these guys are still together, still best friends. They need each other, and that right there is what I learned, that is deep to me because from the outside you think, oh, this is a chaotic group. Bobby is full of himself. Mike wants to control everything. But inside you’re like, wow, these dudes really love each other. It’s just this thing that is making them fight each other for each other to make it for each other.”
“I think New Edition is one of the most accomplished groups in US history. We’re talking about a group that started as a boy band, and then evolved from there into adult superstars,” said Collins. “Not even just as a group, but as individuals, New Edition gave us Bobby Brown, BBD, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, all solo stars on their own right. But then, collectively, you know, New Edition, “Heartbreak” album, “Home Again” album, mega success. And there is not another group in music history that’s ever done that.”
Elijah Kelly noted that, “The most invigorating part was them getting up in their older age and doing all the choreography in front of us,” he added: “They were looking back at us, like, what y’all young boys about to do? So that was, in itself, just an incredible experience to see firsthand, that camaraderie, that we were able to take from them and put into our own relationships.”
After having discovered New Edition performing at a local talent show, songwriter/producer Maurice Starr wrote “Candy Girl” for the group, envisioning them as a 1980s answer to The Jackson 5. So what did Starr think of BET’s miniseries?
“We definitely talked to Maurice Starr,” said Collins. “He came to set. He was very happy that Faizon Love portrays him in the film. And we sent Bryshere to Boston, and he spent time with Mike. More importantly, he sat with Mike Bivens’ mother, and she really helped him in just capturing the essence of who Mike is. And he also spent a lot of time with Mike’s friends… hanging out on the corners of Boston, just to get that vibe and energy.”
Inquiring minds wondering how easy or difficult it was for the cast to do those decades-back dance moves, Luke James said: “It was pretty intense, because not only did we have to learn the choreography, we also had to embody each guys’ — each members’ mannerisms.”
He continued, “Brooke Pain, the original manager and choreographer, he put us through it. This is also Brooke’s legacy, the way that we danced. They turned off the air-condition. These guys didn’t even tell us we had the parts until the second week of boot camp. And, you know, I’ve been through this before. They said “boot camp,” and I said, “Oh, this is rehearsal.” It was boot camp. I didn’t feel any type of love in a Hollywood kind of way. It was like, “You’re going to work for this.” And that kind of really just brought us together. It helped us get closer to becoming guys really embodying the time, and everything about New Edition.”