Is America Really Sick of Getting Bret Michaels Laid?
VH1 has spent three seasons trying to find love for Bret Michaels, the former Poison vocalist whose blood bleeds bandanna-patterned. In numbers, that means that MTV's sister channel has pumped out 40 episodes in which 68 contestants with exotically spelled names like Ambre and Destiney found maybe 3,000 kinky ways (including rollerblading with strollers) to incite Bret into purring, "That kinda turned me on." And while Bret did find one woman he liked enough to get her name tattooed on his neck, he never found that "true love" that he was after. Dejected, VH1 announced this weekend that it is giving up on Rock of Love to pursue other reality projects, but is America ready to break-up with reality's rock-star Romeo? Movieline investigates after the jump.
Just yesterday, VH1 president Tom Calderone released a statement expressing that the Viacom network is going in a new direction with 44 new series that will fall under three genres: music, celebrity and "real life stories." Sadly, this new template does not leave much room for reality dating, as Calderone confirmed in a stinging addendum:
"As much as they've enjoyed the Love franchise, our audience was getting a little fatigued by all those manufactured reality shows. They want more authenticity in their reality, which isn't to say that it can't be comedic and light."
What kind of programming is more authentic than Bret Michael's champagne-soaked tale of commitment-phobia? To quote the Hollywood Reporter:
"Upcoming series launches include "You're Cut Off!" (June 14), a rehab of sorts for nine spoiled party girls; and "Money Hungry" (summer), a weight-loss competition strip in which contestants risk losing $10,000 of their own cash if they don't reduce their caloric intake."
This seems like a classic case of "positioning a backward move as a forward move." Bret Michael's career is finally cresting again thanks to a stint on this season's Celebrity Apprentice 3, which has endeared the rock star to a broader swath of television viewers, and an emergency appendectomy that garnered him hundreds of headlines in the past few weeks. At this point, VH1 should consider themselves lucky to have Bret Michaels and be branding as much of their programming around the rocker. A couple examples:
· School of Bret: Bret coaches four aspiring glam metal bands in a reality competition series. The winning band then tours the country in VH1's retired Rock of Love buses for a year with Bret as their manager.
· Bret-tique Roadshow: Bret and a team of rock appraisers travel the country to appraise bandannas brought in by local female residents who claim to have slept with the Poison vocalist. A show for all generations!
I could see VH1 dumping Michaels if they were bringing back classics like Pop-Up Video or revolutionizing reality programming with series that do not involve weight loss or hard-partying socialites, but this just seems senseless.
· VH1 revamps programming [THR]