P. Diddy Keeps It Real on MTV Series

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The reality programming genre is alive and well at the Viacom Inc.-owned music services.

MTV: Music Television last week announced that hip-hop mogul P. Diddy (a.k.a. Sean "Puffy" Combs) will host the sophomore season of Making the Band
this fall. Also, VH1 is in discussions with pop-music legend Liza Minnelli for a potential series later this year, said network executives.

Making the Band II, the follow-up to MTV's successful 2000 effort — which spawned the pop group O-Town — will bow Oct. 12, said network senior vice president of original programming and series development John Miller. The show made its initial debut on ABC, but was moved back to MTV earlier this year after posting a poor ratings performance.

"It didn't do as well on ABC as it did for us," Miller said, although MTV did not provide specific ratings numbers by press time.

Much like its predecessor, Making the Band II
will take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a musical group, from the initial auditions to cutting a record to signing a record deal.

This show, however, will have a more distinct hip-hop flavor, according to P. Diddy, who is also CEO and founder of Bad Boy Entertainment. P. Diddy (formerly Puff Daddy) will provide access to his business life while guiding the new group through various development stages.

NO 'OSBOURNES' CLONE

But P. Diddy made it clear during a press conference here that the series will bear no resemblance to MTV's wildly successful reality skein The Osbournes.

"I definitely didn't want to follow in the footsteps of The Osbournes
— I don't follow what other people do," he said. "I don't think anybody else can do it like The Osbournes. Anything else would be corny and basically contrived."

Miller believes P. Diddy's appeal will help drive even more viewers to the series.

"[Making the Band] was a hit for us. O-Town's [album] went double platinum, so we're excited about expanding and reinventing the franchise," Miller said. "I think P. Diddy will probably bring viewers that didn't come along for the ride the first time."

The network has several other reality shows on the drawing board, Miller added.

"Reality has always been a big part of MTV programming," he said. "We were essentially the pioneers of reality programming, so we're always looking for new programming."

Meanwhile, MTV sister service VH1 is exploring a potential reality series starring veteran music and stage performer Minnelli.

"There are ongoing talks with Liza for a reality-based series," said a VH1 spokesman, although he would not reveal specific details.

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