VH1 plans 'Wild Life' music block


Irv Gotti's attempt at a comeback and five former boy-band members looking for a second shot at success are among the subjects of six new series greenlighted by VH1 that are set to premiere next year as part of a new music-branded block of programming dubbed "VH1's Wild Life."

Other series in the primetime block, set to launch in the first quarter, will revolve around finding the "next great white rapper" and Cisco Adler's band Whitestarr, which is looking to sell its first record, among others.

Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group, noted that the shows all have a common thread running through them.

"One thing that really jumped off the page for me was that so many of them are aspirational, (where the subjects are) looking to have a profile in music or make a mark or a comeback," he said. "As the pilots came in, we saw the pieces fall into place and (decided that) rather than simply launching a TV show, we would make a bigger play at inaugurating another primetime evening hopefully as big as 'Celebreality.' "

Graden added that it's yet to be determined what night the new block will air; the "Celebreality" block, which has included shows like "Flavor of Love," "The Surreal Life" and "Breaking Bonaduce," airs on Sunday nights. Spurred by shows like "Flavor of Love 2," which set network records with its season finale this month, VH1 is up 82% among total viewers in total-day viewership when compared with 2002, Graden noted.

The new series are:

  "Irv Gotti Project" -- After being investigated for three years by the federal government on charges of money laundering and acquitted, Gotti is attempting a comeback with his label, the Inc, while also juggling his responsibilities as a husband and father. The series is from Mindless Entertainment and 51 Pictures.

  "Man Band" -- Former boy-band members including Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd), Rich Cronin (LFO), Chris Kirkpatrick ('N Sync) and Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) will live together under one roof while creating new music and a new stage show, which they then will perform as a new pop group in the quest for finding success again. "Man Band" is from Tijuana Entertainment and Kandokid Prods.

  "ego trip's White Rapper Show" -- Hosted by white rapper Michael "MC Serch" Berrin (of the group 3rd Bass) and producer Prince Paul, this series will feature 10 contestants competing to become the "next great white rapper." The series is from 10X10 Prods. and ego trip.

  Untitled Whitestarr project -- Described as a "comedic romp," this series follows rock group Whitestarr as they seek success in the music industry. The show is produced by Hoosick Falls Prods.

  "Bridging the Gap" -- This limited series documents two established artists who come together for the first time to explore their shared musical passions and create a new track. The first episode will feature Eve and Queen Latifah. "Bridging the Gap" is from the Coalition.

  "Rags to Riches" -- Each episode of this verite series will feature a musician or actor taking viewers on a journey from his or her humble beginnings through stardom. The pilot episode, which already has aired on VH1, featured Snoop Dogg. "Rags to Riches" is created and directed by Lauren Lazin.