In its most ambitious original-programming slate ever, VH1 will debut an extensive lineup of new series, specials and movies during the 2001-2002 season.
The music network's more than $100 million original-programming outlay includes the Barbra Streisand-produced Pulling Strings, a drama about the corporate takeover of a music company, said VH1 senior vice president of original programming and development Lauren Zalaznick.
Also scheduled to bow later this year is The Hitmen, a dramatic series about the mob's influence in the music business, produced by Goodfellas
writer Nicholas Pileggi.
VH1 will also introduce three five-part documentary series: Say It Loud: Black Music In America; VH1 Presents the '80s
and From the Waist Down: Men, Women and Music, Zalaznick said. Rap artist M.C. Hammer and veteran rock group Def Leppard will be the subjects of two full-length original movies scheduled to debut later in 2001, as well as a romantic drama, When The Music Stops.
New series set to premiere this summer include: What's My 20, a countdown of the top 20 all-time greatest music videos in a variety of categories; Cover Wars,
hosted by Late Show with David Letterman
band leader Paul Shaffer, which pits bands against each other in several music-oriented contests; Strange Frequency, a music-oriented, Twilight Zone-like anthology series; and VH1 Undercover.
The network will also premiere The Devil's Music, a one-hour series that depicts the evil one as the head of a record label.
Also in production for the Viacom Inc.-owned network are the animated series pilot Camp Chaos
and the reality-based series Hollywood Hills, Zalaznick said.