- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2005

‘Momma’ complex

MTV continues its reality-based assault on viewers with a new show based around trash talk.

“That ‘70s Show’s” Wilmer Valderrama is set to host his own creation, “Yo Momma,” a comedy showcase pitting put-down artists against one another, Reuters News Agency reports.

The network also has a deal with R&B; singer Omarion to create a series tracking his life in the business world, including the advent of his own shoe line.

Former Sony Music chief Tony Mottola is also getting real via MTV. Mariah Carey’s ex will serve as an executive producer of a series about a Queens, N.Y., barbershop that cultivates hip-hop talent.

Other shows coming to MTV in the coming months include a series starring the Ying Yang Twins in which contestants become their roommates in a hard-partying mansion and a show featuring former “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn helping wronged souls get revenge.

Life of Brian

The man responsible for bringing the new homosexual channel Logo to television sets nationwide attended Oral Roberts University and spent his formative years in rural Illinois, Associated Press reports.

Brian Graden may not seem the likely choice to head such a channel, but Mr. Graden’s previous gigs working with MTV, VH1 and CMT gave him the experience needed for the cable startup.

Logo, which bowed yesterday in about 10 million homes with digital cable, is the first channel offering a steady stream of content aimed at a homosexual audience. Both Here and Q, two existing cable outlets targeting the same demographic, offer programming on a pay-per-view basis, AP reports.

Logo plans to air films such as “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Philadelphia,” along with documentaries and a scripted series, “Noah’s Arc.” That show follows a homosexual black man and his friends in Los Angeles.

Mr. Graden’s career began when he befriended writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, helping them to develop “South Park.”

He later moved to MTV and was the executive behind an array of hits, including “The Osbournes,” “Pimp My Ride,” “Jackass” and “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.”

AP reports that Mr. Graden is responsible for putting somewhere between a combined 200 and 300 television programs on the air throughout his various tenures.

Celebrities sing, too

It isn’t just starry-eyed twentysomethings who want to sing for the masses. Celebrities want to take a stab at “American Idol”-style karaoke.

E! Online reports that Fox is planning a spinoff from its hugely popular “American Idol” series that will let stars, instead of the boy or girl next door, sing.

Producers FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment have given the thumbs-up to “Celebrity Idol,” which would be produced by the original “Idol” team of Simon Fuller, Nigel Lythgoe, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Ken Warwick.

Ten stars would make up the cast, pitting their vocal stylings against one another for a $1 million prize earmarked for charity.

We won’t see any of those ego-crushing auditions, but viewers will still get the chance to vote for their favorite crooner.

The show would reportedly be broadcast as a 10-episode miniseries of sorts over a two- to three-week period.

E! reports that the show’s producers are trying to line up “Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, as well as host Ryan Seacrest, for the project.

Fox executive Mike Darnell told Daily Variety that the plan was “to go for the biggest talent possible” in terms of the celebrities who would make up the cast.

“We’re looking for people who can sing but aren’t known for singing,” he told the publication.

NBC announced its own version of “Celebrity Idol” last week, to be called “I’m a Celebrity But I Want to be a Pop Star.” The series promises celebrities from the worlds of film, television and sports belting out established hits.

Of course, the term “celebrity” can mean anyone from Tom Cruise to reality-show veteran Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” includes stars such as boxer Evander Holyfield and former “Bachelorette” Trista Sutter.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.


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