VH1’s president wants more “redemptive” shows, fewer carbon-copied love shows

The near-endless spin-offs of The Surreal Life and Flavor of Love are “not something we want to be famous for” at VH1, the network’s president said. Tom Calderone told the Los Angeles Times, “We don’t want our viewers tuning in and feeling like it’s the same network all the time, that is not something we want to be famous for.”

Of course, that’s what they are famous for, because that works: As the paper notes, “VH1’s prime-time average audience this year is 760,000, up 26% from five years ago,” although the story notes that “people close to VH1 say several of the network’s programs are a hard sell” to “blue-chip advertisers [who] are wary of some of the shows on VH1 because they often feature drunken antics, fighting and lots of sexual innuendo.”

Instead, Calderone wants more “redemptive” programming, such as Terrell Owens’ The T.O. Show, and he also said, “We always want 51 Minds to be part of our arsenal and stable of creativity, but the only way VH1 will survive and be healthy is to have several different voices and production partners.”

As to the controversy over Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money star Ryan Jenkins’ alleged murder and eventual suicide, he said, This is not what I signed up for,” she he’s “trying to get together” with producers to “fix this problem and never ever let this happen again.”

VH1 wants less love, more redemption [Los Angeles Times]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.