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VH1 Will 'Man' Up


VH1, which has given us two seasons of "Flavor of Love," several "Surreal Lives" and more countdown shows than we can count, is turning its focus more squarely on the music industry in its next batch of shows.

Given that the network started its life as a music channel, that only seems fitting. The half-dozen projects on tap, which include musical rehab for former boy-band members, a search for the next great white rapper and a show following hip-hop producer Irv Gotti, will air under the banner of "VH1's Wild Life."

"The breadth of this slate of music-based series illustrates, once again, that VH1 is the only place for adults to go to see the kinds of music and storytelling that speaks only to them," says Brian Graden, president of MTV Networks Music Group.

The headline-grabbers among the new shows are "Man Band" and the somewhat self-explanatory "ego trip's White Rapper Show." The former will take five ex-boy band stars -- including Chris Kirkpatrick of *NSync and Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees -- and bring them together in a new group, making more grown-up music. Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd and Rich Cronin of LFO will also take part, although a fifth member hasn't been found yet.

The "White Rapper Show," created by the minds behind hip-hop collective ego trip and hosted by Michael "MC Serch" Berrin of 3rd Bass, will attempt to find the successor to the likes of the Beastie Boys and Eminem from a pool of 10 contestants. The show will also test the rappers' ideas about race.

Also coming are shows that follow Gotti as he tries to relaunch his label, The Inc, after a three-year federal investigation for money laundering (he was acquitted); and a show about the band Whitestarr, which has no trouble getting ink -- thanks to singer Cisco Adler's relationship with Mischa Barton -- but a rather more difficult time when it comes to actually selling records.

In a somewhat more serious vein, the "Wild Life" banner will also include "Bridging the Gap," in which two artists spend a day together recording a song and discussing their lives and music. The first episode will feature Eve and Queen Latifah.

Lastly, VH1 has greenlit "Rags to Riches," in which musicians and actors recount the obstacles they had to overcome on the way to stardom and pay tribute to the people who helped them get there. The pilot, which featured rapper Snoop Dogg, has already aired.

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