VH1 to Seek Diva Wannabes in New Series
Wed Jan 29, 1:56 AM ET
By Michael Schneider
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Wannabe Whitneys and masquerading Mariahs who failed to make the "American Idol" cut now have another shot at divahood thanks to VH1.
The music cabler said Tuesday it has greenlit "Destination Diva: The Search for a Superstar," a talent contest for singers with vocal talent and an attitude to boot.
VH1 also announced a hefty roster of specials that will bow throughout the year, as the cabler alters its strategy to focus less on series and more on pop-culture themed one-offs (like the network's recent hit "I Love the '80s").
"Destination Diva," which premieres April 14, will hunt for contestants in New York, London, Nashville, Philadelphia and Miami. Finalists will then move on to participate in a "diva boot camp" in New York.
The winner of the show will perform alongside real-life famous chanteuses in the cabler's next "VH1 Divas" special, slated for May 2003.
The cabler has also picked up the series "Behind the Movies," a spinoff of its popular "Behind the Music" franchise, this time exploring pop films such as "Fame," "Back to the Future" and "Risky Business." The program premieres next month.
"This slate is an indication of where we are taking VH1 in the future -- a network that holds music at its core, but that doesn't shy away from other iconic and ubiquitous moments in pop culture," MTV/VH1 entertainment president Brian Graden said.
Meanwhile, VH1's roster of specials include "Dashboard Dreams," a one-hour entry hosted by Chris Titus ("Titus"), who examines the relationship between autos and rock music.
"Dashboard Dreams," which airs on Feb. 17, includes interviews with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Vince Neil, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath and Blink 182's Travis Barker, who talk about their car-fueled songs.
Also coming up: the one-hour special "Shania: What It's Like," which follows the life of Shania Twain as she promotes her new album (Feb. 12) and "Karaoke Dreams," which follows six wannabe singers as they compete in a karaoke contest (March 2).
VH1 will premiere another documentary, "Hip-Hop Babylon," which examines the birth of the music genre, in third quarter 2003, and the cinema verite special "Fountain of Youth," which looks at the baby boomer generation's quest to stay young, in March.
VH1 is also following musician Warren Zevon, who is suffering from terminal lung cancer, as he goes about his final days.
On the countdown front, VH1 has prepared specials revolving around the "Top 50 Hip-Hop Artists" (March), "Top 100 Pop Culture Icons" (spring), "Top 50 Teen Idols" (spring) and "25 Greatest Fads" (spring).
VH1 franchise "VH1 Goes Inside" returns in March with new installments that look into soap operas, Dick Clark's New Year's Eve franchise and "Schoolhouse Rock," while its "Ultimate Albums" anthology is back in the spring with recordings including Kiss' "Alive" and Mariah Carey's "Butterfly."