VH1 Plans Five New Primetime Series


New York-VH1 unveiled a slate of five new primetime series last week, including documentary shows, with one that chronicles the stories of rabid, off-the-wall rock fans.

The new shows follow VH1's formula of focusing on music and reality-based original programming.

"It's an expansion along the lines of what has worked for us: reality-based series created around music," VH1 executive vice president of programming and production Jeff Gaspin said. "But rather than them all being about behind the scenes in music, two-Fan and Sound Affects-will talk about fans and viewers."

Fan, by acclaimed film director Joe Berlinger, explores the world of die-hard fans whose very lives are defined by their fanaticism. The show will not only seek out fans who go beyond the normal limits to express their devotion to their favorite rock stars, but it will also interview the bands that inspire this devotion. Fan is slated to premiere in May.

Sound Affects, which debuts in June, is a weekly half-hour program about how a song has inspired or affected people in powerful ways.

Fan and Sound Affects explore the "the incredible emotional connection our viewers have with music," Gaspin said, adding that VH1 this year will spend 30 percent to 35 percent more on programming than last year.

The third new series, VH1 Confidential, looks at the mysteries, myth and urban legends of rock' n' roll. It is scheduled to premiere this summer.

The fourth VH1 series, Don't Quote Me, is in the tradition of Pop Up Video. Don' t Quote Me superimposes print words on music videos, using actual quotes from the artists themselves. For example, the half-hour show takes on topics such as Cher' s plastic surgery and Jennifer Lopez' s posterior. The show does not yet have a debut date.

"It's played for humor and irony," Gaspin said.

The fifth series is 100 Greatest, a quarterly special that will count down the "100 greatest" in a variety of musical categories.

VH1 also announced a new made-for-TV movie, Back in Black, a two-hour anthology that draws upon the mythology, songs and history of rock to give viewers a hair-raising look at the "great beyond" through scary morality tales. It will include four stories, among them "Disco Inferno," in which aging rockers find themselves trapped in a 1970s-style disco.

Back in Black, slated to air in the fourth quarter, may evolve into a weekly half-hour series.

VH1 has also slated the special VH1 Music of the Year Awards, a two-hour concert and awards show.