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VH1 Renews ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, Picks Up Ricky Martin Reality Series – Upfront

Deadline logo Deadline 4/13/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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VH1, coming off seven consecutive quarters of ratings growth, has unveiled its 2017-18 slate heading into upront meetings with advertisers. It includes a Season 10 renewal of recent transplant RuPaul’s Drag Race for premiere in March 2018, five new series, including a project starring Ricky Martin and ‘90’s House, co-hosted by Lance Bass, and eleven returning series.

The network also announced a June 5 premiere date for new satirical scripted series Daytime Divas, inspired by Star Jones’ book Satan’s Sisters … A Novel of Fiction and starring Vanessa Williams.

“VH1 is leading the industry in growth and our new expansive slate will continue to fuel this trajectory,” said Chris McCarthy, President of VH1, MTV and Logo. “From Martha & Snoop to Hip Hop Squares, VH1 is where pop culture comes to party.”

McCarthy noted VH1’s “wonderful, rich history” in pop culture, calling the network “the first pop culture brand.” “That’s our heritage, that’s where our sweet spot is, and the crystallized brand position has helped us decide which shows stayed and how we developed new shows.”

For more on VH1’s programming strategy and the future of existing series like The Breaks, which is closing in on renewal, and Dating Naked, which has been canceled, read my Q&A with McCarthy.

90’s House, a nostalgic take on reality with Lance Bass as one of the hosts, will make its series’ debut on August 16.

“This is in our brand’s DNA, we celebrate not just in pop culture current but in pop culture past,” McCarthy said, noting the network’s success with such series as I Love the 90s. “The 90s resurgence is such a big and resonant force that is still going on in culture, we wanted to run into it and a take a group of Millennials that have the love of the 90s and the nostalgia and bring them back into the 90s so they have the music, the TV, the sound and the product the 90s but also the technology of the 90s — 90s cell phones, dial-up — seeing what that culture clash looks like.”

The Ricky Martin project (title TBD), a behind the scenes look at the singer and his crew’s preparations for his Las Vegas residency, is set to premiere in June. Baller Wives (working title), in which Miami power couples navigate love, family, business and balling in the hottest city around, is set for an August premiere; and Scared Famous, a reality fright fest where 10  celebrities move into a haunted house but only one makes it out alive, will air in the October Halloween frame.

McCarthy said he and his team had been wanting for a long time to do something in the horror comedy space, which is currently in the zeitgeist with the success of Get Out. He called Scared Famous an “over-the-top murder mystery in the reality space.”

After eight seasons on Logo and an Emmy win for host RuPaul, Drug Race moved to VH1 for its ninth season this spring. “It’s been amazing to see the show get its highest season ever on a whole new night on a whole new network,” McCarthy said. “We brought in a whole new set of audience that is loving the show.”

Joining newly renewed Drag Race are fellow returning VH1 series: Basketball Wives, T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, Black Ink Crew: Chicago, Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, Shaunie’s Home Court, ANTM with Tyra Banks back to host and second season pick-ups of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party and Hip Hop Squares executive produced by Ice Cube.

Below is a detailed look at VH1’s new series:

DAYTIME DIVAS

June 5, 2017

Every weekday at noon, Maxine (Vanessa Williams), Mo (Tichina Arnold), Heather (Fiona Gubelmann), Kibby (Chloe Bridges), and Nina (Camille Guaty)—hosts of “The Lunch Hour,” the long-running women’s talk show—gather around the table to discuss life, love, politics, and juicy gossip. But behind the scenes, it’s even juicier — a backstage world filled with power struggles, diva fits, and steamy affairs. Inspired by the book Satan’s Sisters… A Novel of Fiction by Star Jones, television personality, lawyer and journalist.

PROD. CO: Sony Pictures Television

EP. COUNT: 10

RICKY MARTIN PROJECT (title TBD)

June 2017

A revealing, never been seen account of one of the most private and guarded global superstars of our time. With more than 85 million albums sold worldwide, 95 platinum records, and sold-out concerts in over 100 countries, Ricky Martin is truly an international icon. The project will draw on his Vegas residence to illustrate his broader, fascinating, and inspiring journey from every pivotal era in his career to the most defining roles of his life.

PROD. CO: 51 Minds

BALLER WIVES (working title)

August 2017

From the sidelines to the social frontlines, this is the world where relationships are complicated and the competition is thick. All eyes are on these Miami based pro athletes and their wives as they navigate the waters of love, family, business, and balling in the hottest city around.

PROD. CO: Shed Media

EP. COUNT: 6

‘90s HOUSE

August 16, 2017

What happens when a super connected cast has to unplug and live in the most rad decade ever? No smart phones, Wi-Fi or GPS allowed in this house but tons of the flyest fun, fashion and pop culture moments will be rebooted back to reality. Hosted by Lance Bass and full of cameos from the 90’s most beloved celebrities.

PROD. CO: Superdelicious

EP. COUNT: 8

SCARED FAMOUS

October 2017

The frightening and hilarious tale of ten celebs who have bravely agreed to move into one of the spookiest mansions in America. Over eight episodes, they face terror and chilling challenges inspired by the iconic movies that make you scream. In this reality fright fest, ten famous people will move in, but only one will make it out alive.

PROD. CO: Renegade

EP. COUNT: 8

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