[02/14/07 - 10:33 AM]
VH1 and BET Climb Into Bed with Queen Latifah for 'Wifey'
The one-hour drama pilot, co-produced by VH1 and BET, tracks the newly-widowed wife of a hip-hop mogul who must reassemble her life as she takes over her late husband's record label.

[via press release from VH1]

VH1 and BET Climb Into Bed With Queen Latifah for 'Wifey'

First-of-Its-Kind Multi-Network Production Would Debut Simultaneously, BET Entertainment President Hudlin to Direct Pilot; Executive Producers Include Queen Latifah

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 -- In a first-of-its-kind development/production/broadcast deal, Viacom subsidiaries VH1 and BET are partnering on a one-hour pilot for the ensemble drama "Wifey," set in the world of hip hop. Under this unique arrangement, the eventual series would premiere simultaneously on both networks. Written and executive produced by Michael Elliot, the pilot will be directed by BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin. The executive producers include Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere and Dedra Tate for Flavor Unit, Michael Hirschorn and Maggie Malina for VH1, and Hudlin and Byron Phillips for BET.

"Wifey" is centered on the newly-widowed wife of a hip-hop mogul who must reassemble her life as she takes over her late husband's record label. Once there, she discovers that her family's fortunes were built upon lies and crimes that now threaten to destroy everything. With the help of two female friends, they take on the male-dominated world of hip-hop.

"The premise behind 'Wifey' has tremendous promise and fits perfectly into VH1's unique ability to tell stories about music and pop culture," said Brian Graden, President, Entertainment, MTV Networks and President, LOGO. "This pilot marks the first time that VH1 has partnered with another network in such a way, so we're eager to explore all of the ideas and possibilities that will develop by teaming up with Reginald Hudlin and our friends at BET now and in the future.

"This project represents a first on several levels: BET has never jointly developed or produced a program with any other network, the premiere/revenue structure is unique, and I imagine it's the first time that a network head has directed a pilot," says Hudlin, whose last directing gig was the pilot for "Everybody Hates Chris," just a few months before he joined BET. Hudlin also helmed such box office classics as "House Party," "Boomerang," and the animated film "BeBe's Kids."

"Byron Phillips and I loved the show the minute we read the script," Hudlin added, and that, given "a common sensibility" with VH1's Hirschorn and Malina, he sees the project as "the first of many together."

Queen Latifah (a.k.a. Dana Owens), one of the project's executive producers, echoes Hudlin's enthusiasm.

"I've always wanted to do a series like this. My first business was the music business, so doing this show with the music networks VH1 and BET about the music industry is exciting for me and my partner Shakim," stated Latifah. "It's going to be a fun show."

About VH1

VH1 connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. VH1 is available in 90 million households in the U.S. VH1 also has an array of digital services including VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and VSPOT, VH1's broadband channel. VH1 is a registered trademark of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom International Inc. MTV Networks also operates and offers joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide. Connect with VH1 at http://www.VH1.com.

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading provider of media and entertainment for African Americans and consumers of black culture on a global basis. The primary BET cable network reaches more than 84 million households according to Nielsen media research and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET Digital Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop - serve more diverse target audiences than the core network. BET.com is a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news. BET Mobile delivers music, gaming, and video content to the target audiences on wireless devices across virtually all service providers. BET Event Productions is a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe. Finally, BET International delivers BET content to the consumers of black culture around the world.

About Flavor Unit Entertainment

Flavor Unit Entertainment is a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere. The company, based in New Jersey, is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing the box office hit Bringing Down the House and then continued with Beauty Shop for MGM. They are also co-producing the action-comedy Bad Girls at Paramount with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Overbrook Entertainment. They have also produced The Cookout with Lion's Gate.

http://www.vh1.com http://www.BET.com

  [february 2007]  


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