MTV rocks with musical reality shows
By Kimberly Nordyke
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MTV is giving young people the chance to follow their dreams through several new music- and dance-themed projects, including a drama from Nick Lachey that's described as a reality version of "Fame."
The network also has ordered two singing competitions -- "Rock the Cradle" and a concept with the working title of "Celebrity Music Mentor Project." It has also renewed the dance competition "Randy Jackson: America's Best Dance Crew" for a second season.
The untitled pilot from Lachey, the former star of MTV's "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," revolves around the students at his alma mater, the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati.
It will blend performances by the students with a narrative about what takes place in the school. For example, it might feature students breaking out into dance in the cafeteria, or use a student's practice session as the soundtrack for a scene. Lachey brought the project to the network and is serving as an executive producer.
"Rock the Cradle," an eight-episode series that premieres April 3, features the offspring of famous musicians competing every week in front of their parents, a panel of judges and a live audience to become stars in their own right. Set to compete are Chloe Rose Lattanzi (daughter of Olivia Newton-John), Crosby Loggins (Kenny Loggins), Jesse Money (Eddie Money), Lucy Walsh (Joe Walsh), Lil Al B Sure (Al B Sure), Jesse Blaze Snider (Dee Snider), Lara Johnston (Doobie Brother Tom Johnston), Akeiba Burrell Hammer (M.C. Hammer) and Landon Brown (Bobby Brown).
"Celebrity Mentor" pairs eight music celebrity mentors with eight amateurs who will compete to become pop stars. MTV still is finalizing the celebrity cast list for the series, set to premiere in the fall. Hopefuls will be able to post their videos online, with the celebrities each selecting one contestant to coach. Viewers will whittle down the group over the course of the eight-week competition.
Meanwhile, "Dance Crew," which debuted February 7 and has been the top-rated cable telecast in Thursday primetime among the 12-34 demo, will be back for a second season in the summer with 10 new episodes. This time, viewers will serve as casting directors, with aspiring dance troupes getting the chance to post their videos at dance.mtv.com and the audience favorites being featured on-air.
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