VH1 announced coming attractions at its upfront advertising presentation last Wednesday in New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom. One special event, an original movie and five series made the list, but much of the new product seems to be brand extensions of existing pop programs.
The Fan is a twist on MTV's FANatic, in which rabid rock-star fans get to meet their heroes. (MTV and VH1 are both Viacom networks.) In Fan, film director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost, Brother' s Keeper, Blair Witch Project 2) uncovers those die-hard fans whose lives are shaped by their obsessions. The series premiere features fans of Metallica and members of the death metal band. Fan premieres in May.
Sound Effects is a weekly half-hour series about people who have been profoundly inspired or affected by songs. It shows up in June.
VH1 Confidential is the music genre's Unexplained Mysteries. The one-hour series explores hidden messages in recordings, "shock rock" deaths, missing musicians and "bizarre coincidences," according to VH1. It begins this summer.
Don't Quote Me is yet another take on Pop Up Video, except that actual quotes from the artists are used. The half-hour show dishes the goods on Cher's plastic surgery and Jennifer Lopez's bottom, among other earth-shattering curiosities. Debut date is to be determined.
100 Greatest is an expansion of the franchise that now features 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll and 100 Greatest Songs. The quarterly five-hour specials will apply the countdown to every category of the music business known to man-albums, dance songs, hard rock and rhythm & blues among them.
VH1's new special event follows in the footsteps of MTV's Video Music Awards, which pulled in that network' s highest rating last year. VH1 Music of the Year Awards, a two-hour concert and awards show lauding the network' s best, will be live from Los Angeles in December.
The original movie added to the mix is Back in Black, a two-hour anthology in the tradition of Twilight Zone. In Ballroom Blitz, for example, a callow rock star gets his karmic due for trashing a hotel room; in Disco Inferno, aging rockers find themselves trapped eternally in a disco. BinB shows up in the fourth quarter.