Taking a cue from sister network MTV, music-caster VH1 is getting serious about original programming. At last month’s Television Critics Association tour, Jeff Gaspin, VH1′s executive VP of programming and production, announced a number of upcoming projects, including several doc and reality series slated for 2001. One of the highest profile series will be the five-part Say It Loud: Black Music in America. VH1 will team with Quincy Jones Media Group, Rhino Entertainment and Highway Films to produce the series, claiming it’s the ‘first-ever series to recount the story of black music from its roots in Africa to present day.’
The other major doc undertaking is The History of Sex and Music (also 5 x 60). World of Wonder Productions (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) is producing the series tracing the sexual saturation of contemporary culture through music over five decades.
On the reality side, Bands on the Run will follow four struggling rock groups as they compete in a 13-week road trip to win US$50,000, new equipment from Guitar Center, a music video and an A&R (Arts & Repertoire) showcase. One band will be eliminated after five weeks and a second band after 10 weeks, leaving two groups to battle it out.