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The music-themed cabler has given the green light to a TV movie follow-up to Cannon’s 2002 hit feature film, the network announced Wednesday.
Drumline: A New Beat (working title) will focus on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The new story will follow Dani Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join — and revitalize — their once-prominent drumline. Dani’s quest to become the first female section leader of the drumline in the school’s history will be hampered by upperclassmen (including her cousin, Tyree), her feelings for fellow band mate Jayven and the school’s crosstown rivals.
The new format puts a female spin on the franchise, which centered on Cannon’s overconfident college freshman who looks to make his mark on a prestigious university’s prized drumline. Drumline: A New Beat follows on the success of VH1’s CrazySexyCool TLC biopic last year and continues the network’s trajectory of original scripted fare with a music bent. CrazySexyCool was the highest-rated original cable movie of 2013 among adults 18-49 with a 2.9 rating.
“Drumline was not just a successful film; it was a cultural happening,” Cannon said. “Even though it was released over a decade ago, I am constantly approached by people on the street who tell me how much of an impact it made on them. As a producer, my thought was, ‘How do we create an updated version that would translate to today’s audience and still feel fresh and original?’ Adding a female lead character really makes sense, and VH1 is the perfect network to partner with on this modernized take on what is considered a unique and classic film experience. “
Cannon will have an onscreen role and executive produce alongside feature producers Wendy Finerman, Jody Gerson and Dallas Austin. Regina Hicks and Karin Gist will pen the script for the new take, with production set to begin in the spring for a fall 2014 premiere. Fox Television Studios and VH1 will produce.
“Drumline has become one of those beloved cornerstone films for a generation, always generating high ratings when we air it on VH1,” VH1 executive vp original programming and production Susan Levison said. “We’re beyond excited to revisit that Drumline magic with Nick Cannon, Wendy Finerman, Dallas Austin and Jody Gerson to create a film that features a strong, relatable storyline, great music and a little nostalgia — all of which viewers have come to expect from a VH1 original movie.”
Maggie Malina, Michael Goldman, Jill Holmes and Levison will also exec produce.
The Drumline follow was months in the making, with a scripted series in the conversation at one point. The telepic marks Cannon’s latest small-screen venture; his other credits include MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and America’s Got Talent, among others.
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