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Despite the prominence of his network’s docusoaps about the over-the-top lives of an eclectic mix of women (Mob Wives, Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives), Olde says VH1 has not jettisoned its musical roots.
“There’s more music now than at any other time,” he says of resurrecting Behind the Music, Storytellers and Pop Up Video and ordering 50 additional installments of Pop Up. And the network has found ratings gold with T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, about rapper T.I.’s attempt at a career comeback. The first season averaged 2.3 million viewers, making it VH1’s highest-rated new show in nearly three years (since For the Love of Ray J in April 2009). “Music is the backdrop,” says the Los Angeles-based Olde, 46, by phone from the Atlanta set of scripted series Single Ladies.
Mob Wives, about Staten Island women whose husbands or fathers are doing time, already has inspired its first spinoff — Mob Wives: Chicago bows June 10.
“No one has ever told this story from the female point of view,” says the married Olde. “Their husbands are in jail, dead or on the run. You’d love to hang out with them for a night but probably don’t want to meet them in a dark alley.”