*VH1 is planning a made for TV movie on the careers of pop culture icons TLC.
The movie will launch a series of biopics planned by Vh1 that will span the lives and careers of musicians and pop culture icons.
The platinum selling rap/hip hop duo TLC shot to fame in the ‘90s with such hits as “What About Your Friends,” “Waterfall” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.”
The movie will cover the journey of Rozonda “Chili” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes as they conquered the hip hop world. The biopic will include financial problems the group endured, their platinum successes and the untimely death of Lopes, who died in an auto accident in Honduras in 2002.
Chilli and T-Boz will serve as consultants and executive producers for the film.
Jeff Olde of VH1 said in a statement, “We’re honored to collaborate with Chilli and Tionne in sharing their own personal story and TLC’s record-breaking legacy with VH1 viewers.”
Shaunie O'Neal from her VH1 reality series "Basketball Wives"
*The Associated Press has posted a piece exploring VH1′s new direction in black reality shows – and specifically, the difference in tone between the bawdiness of “Flavor of Love”/”I Love New York” era shows, and the more upscale vibe present in its new offerings built around Chilli, Brandy & Ray J Norwood, and Shaunie O’Neal.
“On her new VH1 reality dating show, Rozonda Thomas — better known as Chilli from the groundbreaking hip-hop group TLC — doesn’t lounge in bubble baths or hand out fake bling to her suitors. Instead, the 39-year-old singer and mother meets bachelors at black-tie affairs and confers with a dating expert, as well as her 12-year-old son,” writes AP entertainment writer Derrik J. Lang.
The cable network synonymous with “Flavor of Love” and its sleazy spin-offs is trading trampiness for fabulousness with a new slate of series starring seemingly well-adjusted rich and famous black Americans. VH1 executive vice president Jeff Olde admits that the shift from oh-no-they-didn’t fare to more mature material is totally intentional.
“We constantly have to evolve and tell our audience different stories,” he says. “I love that we’ve been able to get more diverse with our audience by — in large part — attracting African-American women to the network. We got them in the door with some shows, and now I’m excited about where we’re going and how we’re telling them different kinds of stories.”
The Norwoods in VH1's "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business"
For the notoriously trashy VH1, it’s not reality as usual. While cat fights will flare up with the “Basketball Wives” and Chilli promises a tiff with her sassy matchmaker on “What Chilli Wants,” these new shows certainly aren’t selling buzzworthy moments akin to “Flavor of Love” contestants spiting on each other or suddenly defecating on the floor.
“I watched ‘Flavor of Love’ myself,” attests Chilli. “It was definitely one of the shows I thought was interesting, but it made sense for Flav to do it just that way. For me, I wanted to do my show in a way that I would be comfortable with, and I was very happy that VH1 was on the same page with me. They did have a formula that has been working for them.”
Olde dismisses any past criticisms of “Flavor of Love” and its offspring, mostly produced by 51 Minds Entertainment, by calling the franchise ignited by black rapper Flavor Flav and his multiracial harem “big fun romantic comedies.” (Olde confirms that “I Love Money 3,” featuring murder suspect and suicide victim Ryan Jenkins, as well as the Jenkins-free “I Love Money 4″ won’t air.)
Instead of lewd antics from “Flavor of Love” standout Tiffany “New York” Pollard or that toxic spill of “Charm School” women, the network is now interested in transformative experiences from celebrities, such as third season “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino or rapper Sandy “Pepa” Denton from Salt-N-Pepa. The evolution is already proving successful.
*VH1′s new reality shows “Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business,” “Basketball Wives,” from Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife Shaunie, and “What Chilli Wants” all premiere on Sunday, April 11.
View details, clips and photos from all three shows below.
The Norwoods of "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business"
“Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business” – 9 p.m.
Siblings Brandy and Ray J Norwood are famous for their incredible vocal talent on the stage and screen. But they wouldn’t be anywhere without the support and guidance of their parents – entertainment manager and mom, Sonja, and talented musical father, Willie Norwood. In this new eleven, hour-long episode series, viewers will get a first hand glimpse into the lives of the Norwood family unit and their family business – Rn’B Productions. Run by Sonja, Rn’B Productions features an impressive roster of musical artists including Brandy, Ray J and their father Willie, who also serves as the company’s vocal coach. But with Sonja ready to take a step down, Brandy and Ray J will have to fill her shoes quickly, while taking the family business to the next level. Will they have what it takes to continue to stay in the limelight while growing an entertainment empire? Watch as the Norwoods join forces and reach new levels of success. [View teaser below.]
“Basketball Wives” – 10 p.m. “Basketball Wives” follows the extraordinary lives of seven women who are best friends and either the wife, ex-wife or girlfriend of an NBA superstar. The eight half-hour episodes will showcase the inside lives of these ladies who are with some of the biggest ballers in the game. These ladies live the life. They drive the best cars, live in the biggest mansions, wear designer clothes and jewelry and only travel first class. But living the high life is not all glamour. In order to protect it, they have to deal with the jealousies and dramas of living in — and staying in — the inner circle. Viewers will watch as these women juggle between stress and success while raising their children, building their businesses, fending off groupies and finding stability in an unstable atmosphere. In “Basketball Wives” viewers will finally get a glimpse into the secret lives of the women behind these men, and realize that it’s not just the players they date or are married to… but also the game.
Relationship expert Tionna Smalls sits with Chilli on VH1's "What Chilli Wants"
“What Chilli Wants” – 10:30 p.m. As previously reported… Beauty, success, money… Chilli has everything she’s ever wanted, except a good man. Her friends say she is single because her “Chilli’s Checklist,” a catalog of standards and traits any potential dating prospect must meet, is too high and unrealistic. According to the expansive list, he must have eight-pack abs, a gorgeous face, has to be funny (like Marlon Wayans funny), has to love kids, has to be religious, can’t smoke, can’t drink, and can’t eat pork, just to name a few. Now, as a last resort, Chilli has enlisted the help of relationship expert Tionna Smalls. Over the course of eight weeks, Tionna will break down Chilli’s impossible criteria and the emotions behind them, introduce her to hundreds of men and hopefully find her that perfect guy.
*VH1 has set April 11 for the season premiere of “What Chilli Wants,” a new reality series that follows TLC’s Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas of TLC as she searches for Mr. Right.
Based on the show teaser [seen below], Chilli has a long list of standards that has made her search rather difficult. Her dream guy must be “gorgeous, sensitive and charming,” according to the 38-year-old singer, “and also a non-drinker, non-smoker and anti-pork.”
Her buddies, including TLC’s T-Boz and Missy Elliott, tell her that she’ll never find a man unless she’s willing to compromise on a few of her standards.
In January, VH1 held a casting call for men ages 25-40 “who have the sex appeal, personality, good looks, success and heart to date a major music artist who is looking to find her true love.”