Coolio getting real at Oxygen


Oxygen has greenlighted an unscripted series starring rapper Coolio that will follow his trials and tribulations as he tries to balance work with his role as a single parent raising six teenagers.

The network has ordered six half-hour episodes of the series, titled "Coolio & the Gang," set to air in second-quarter 2008. Oxygen will produce with RDF USA, whose reality credits include ABC's "Wife Swap," Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics" and Lifetime's upcoming "How to Look Good Naked."

Coolio boasts three platinum albums and six top 10 hits, including "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage." The series will show him balancing his life as a family man with his rap career and launching his own clothing line.

Debby Beece, president of programming and marketing at Oxygen, said "Coolio" will feature comedic elements. She added that shows about people juggling a career and home life resonate with Oxygen viewers and likened "Coolio" to a real-life version of "My Three Sons."

"Oxygen likes to rewrite the rulebook for women's programming, and this show has a lot of inherent female appeal," she said. "Coolio is a single dad raising kids, and it's got a lot of unconventional parenting aspects to it. He wants his kids to do as he says, not as he does."

"Coolio's unconventional methods of discipline are guaranteed to entertain," said Chris Coelen, CEO of RDF USA.

Coolio is executive producing the series with Coelen, RDF USA exec vp Greg Goldman and Susan Haber of Haber Entertainment. RDF USA's Mike Duffy is co-executive producing. At Oxygen, the series will be managed by senior vp development and production Aaron Meyerson and vp development Kristin Connolly Vadas.