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VH1 Hopes to Script a Brand Rebound

5/16/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

VH1 will look to regenerate its pop culture
brand with the May 30 launch of its first
one-hour scripted series, Single Ladies.

The romantic comedy, produced by actress/
hip-hop artist Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment,
stars Stacey Dash, LisaRaye McCoy
and Charity Shea as three best friends with different
philosophies on sex and relationships as
they try to navigate through life, according to
network officials. Latifah herself is expected to
make cameo appearances in the middle of the
series’ run.

TWO-HOUR DEBUT

The network will debut the series as part of a twohour
movie May 30, with 10 new episodes for the series
to premiere weekly beginning June 6, according to
network officials.

The series is VH1’s first hour-long scripted series and its
first scripted eff ort since 2006’s So NoTORIous, starring
Tori Spelling as a fictionalized version of herself.

“What we’ve learned that our audience is a pretty eclectic
group that is multidimensional, and they like all sorts
of genres,” Jeff Olde, executive vice president of original
programming and production at VH1, said. “They have
scripted shows that they love on other networks, so why
not watch one on our network?”

VH1, which in recent years has relied mostly on celebrity-
themed reality series like Celebrity Fit Club, Basketball
Wives, Brandy & Ray J and Rock of Love, is hoping the
scripted Single Ladies will help the network diversify its
programming offerings, while touching upon a lot of the
same relationship themes that resonate with its target audience
of 18-to-49-year-old women, according to Olde.

“For us, creatively, we really take a look at different
genres and how robust they could be for our audience,”
he said. “Th at’s how people are watching TV these days
— you just can’t just make one thing for them, because
they’re watching all sorts of different [genres].”

The launch of Single Ladies comes as the network tries
to turn around sluggish ratings performances. VH1 posted
a 21% primetime ratings decline during first quarter 2011
and an 18% audience decline last month.

Olde said he hopes Single Ladies posts strong ratings
right out of the box, but patience is needed to let viewers
find and eventually stick with the show.

MORE IS AHEAD

“Of course, you want ratings and great viewership, but it’s
a different kind of show for us,” he said. “We know we love
it creatively. Not all shows are created equal — we hope
it pops out as a hit, but we’re going to be patient with it.”

Whether Single Ladies is a hit or not, Olde said the network
will look to develop other scripted series and movies
to appear for the near future as VH1 looks to refine its
brand.

“We’re really looking to regenerate our pop-culture
brand — we’ve got a lot of things going well for us, like
Mob Wives, so we’re looking to mix it up,” he said. “I really
like the way it’s going at this point. It feels like it has lots
of varying moves and tones to it.

“We’re getting back into knowing how our audiences
watch us and we’re having a lot of fun playing with it,”
Olde said.

September