VH1 Revisits '80s, Rolls Out New Series


Continuing its restructuring and reprogramming efforts, VH1 has greenlighted several new series to premiere later this year — including another look inside the 1980s.

Among the new series slated for the network include This One's For You, a music dedication series in which top artists sing custom-made songs about a viewer's intimate or emotional story, said network executives.

Song Stories
reveals the message or the story behind some of the most memorable music recorded, while VH1 Obsessed
explores the strange, sometimes freaky world of people who have a passion for the extraordinary.

VH1 general manager Christina Norman also said the network will revisit its most successful miniseries, I Love the 80's, with a second 10-parter dedicated to the decade.

I Love the 80's Strikes Back
will look at such 80's icons as Star Search, Donkey Kong, Pee-Wee's Playhouse
and Fruit Roll-Ups.

The new shows come amid a ratings upturn for the network over the past year. In August, the network averaged a 0.5 rating, up from a 0.4 in August 2002.

Thus far in the third quarter (through Aug. 28), VH1 has averaged a 0.4 among adults 18 to 49 in primetime, a 33% gain compared to the same time period in 2002.

With a new redesign, a new logo and new programming, Norman said the network has shed its stagnant, MTV-lite image that ultimately hurt the network's ratings over the last two years.

"The experience of watching VH1 is completely different than it was a year ago — it's fun and engaging again for people to watch," Norman said. "We will continue to evolve VH1 into a marriage of music, pop culture and artists that appeals to viewers in their 30s and older."

The network, however, will not bring back its annual VH1 Fashion Awards
show this fall. It will return its VH1 Big in 2003
Awards for a sophomore run, packaging this year's best in music, movies, TV and personalities.

In other network news, VH1 announced several programming promotions and new hires. Programming execs Michael Hirschorn and Shelly Tatro have been promoted to executive vice president of production & programming and senior vice president of production & programming, respectively.

Joining VH1 are former The Caroline Rhea Show
supervising producer Jim Ackerman, who was named VH1 vice president of development production and programming, and executive producer of MTV: Music Television series BioRhythm
Jeff Olde, who was named an executive consultant.