TV ONE AIRS FOUR NEW EPISODES OF ACCLAIMED ORIGINAL BIO SERIES �UNSUNG� BEGINNING SUNDAY, JUNE 7 AT 8 PM ET AS CENTERPIECE OF BLACK MUSIC MONTH PROGRAMMING LINEUP
-- Series that examines and celebrates talented artists who are under-appreciated will feature Minnie Riperton, Melba Moore, Shalamar and Florence Ballard premiering each Sunday night in June at 8 PM ET (all times ET) � -- Black Music Month lineup also features all-new �TV One on One� interview with Mary J. Blige premiering Sunday, June 14 at 9 PM ET --
Silver Spring, MD- In celebration of Black Music Month, TV One will premiere each Sunday in June four new episodes of Unsung, its acclaimed original series of one-hour biographies that celebrates the lives and careers of successful artists or groups who, despite great talent, over the years have been under-recognized or under-appreciated. Everyone recognizes the name of Aretha, Whitney, Diana, Stevie, and Marvin. But the full picture of black music in America is much larger than those acknowledged superstars, and many of the greatest have failed to achieve that same level of superstardom.
Narrated by actor Gary Anthony Williams, Unsung will chronicle the careers of:
Minnie Riperton - Best known for mega-hit Lovin' You, this sultry siren's career and life were cut short after a three- year battle with cancer in the 1970s when she was only 31 years old. Classically trained in opera at Chicago's Lincoln Center, she had a vocal range of nearly six octaves and before her mega-hit had forged a successful career singing and composing with the ground breaking '60s pop group Rotary Connection. After her cancer diagnosis, she went public instead of retreating, serving as the first African American spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Premieres Sunday, June 7 at 8 PM ET, repeating at 11 PM, as well as Thursday, June 11 at 10 PM and Friday, June 12 at noon and midnight.
Melba Moore - A tremendously versatile talent, she was a Tony Award-winning actress in her 20s, and a Grammy-nominated R&B recording artist in her 30s, and it seemed her career ascent was limitless until a series of devastating personal and financial setbacks knocked her out of the spotlight in the late 1980s. But Moore fought her way back, and even turned the dramatic details of her life into a successful one person show. Premieres Sunday, June 14 at 8 PM ET, repeating at 11 PM, as well as Thursday, June 18 at 10 PM, and Friday, June 19 at noon and midnight.
Shalamar - This trio was originally a disco-driven vehicle created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey. With hits like The Second Time Around and A Night to Remember, this group, most famous with vocalists Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel and Howard Hewett, was destined for long-term success, but constant member changes took its toll on the group's long-term viability. Premieres Sunday, June 21 at 8 PM ET, repeating at 11 PM, as well as Thursday, June 25 at 10 PM, and Friday, June 26 at noon and midnight.
Florence Ballard - The co-founder and shared lead singer of the Supremes was replaced as lead singer by Diana Ross when Berry Gordy decided that Ross' voice could help the group cross over and appeal to white audiences. She never recovered from that decision, and Gordy dismissed her from the group in 1967. It took years before she recovered emotionally, and she spent much of her last years in poverty, dying a tragic death from a coronary thrombosis at age 32. Premieres Sunday, June 28 at 8 PM, repeating at 11 PM, as well as Thursday, July 2 at 10 PM and Friday, July 3 at noon and midnight.
Unsung will reveal the multiple factors that kept these artists from achieving the iconic commercial status they deserved. And, in the process, these specials will "sing" the praises and celebrate the artistry that has kept fellow artists and fans talking about them for years. Featuring exclusive interviews, musical clips and archival footage, each episode will investigate the stories of these pivotal artists, their journey through music and their perhaps unexpected influence on the music of today.
The episodes are executive-produced by Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Frank Sinton of A. Smith & Co. Productions. Mark Rowland is Co-Executive Producer. Executive in charge of production for TV One is Jubba Seyyid.
A. Smith & Co. produced for TV One four episodes of Unsung featuring DeBarge, Donny Hathaway, Phyllis Hyman and the Clark Sisters, that aired as a series of specials in fall 2008. The four Unsung premieres were viewed by a total 1.1 million people, and the Phyllis Hyman premiere was TV One's highest-rated original program in 2008 and ranked number one in its time slot among ad-supported cable networks for both African-American households and for African-American adults 25-54.
Four additional new episodes of Unsung are expected to air in November 2009.
"Unsung really resonates with our audience. When it first aired, we may have gotten more comments and positive feedback about it than any other entertainment program since we aired the 30th anniversary telecast of Roots," said TV One Senior Vice President of Original Programming Toni Judkins. "There are so many more remarkable artists who have had the raw talent of Diana, Aretha or Stevie, but whose circumstances have prevented them from attaining that iconic status. We are delighted to be teaming up again with A. Smith to be bringing our viewers more of those incredible, real-life stories."
Other featured programming during Black Music Month includes:
On Sunday, June 7 at 7 PM, TV One premieres an all-new episode of our original entertainment newsmagazine series TV One Access hosted by Tatyana Ali. This episode keeps with the music theme of the month by showcasing some of the music industry's most popular artists who are turning 40 this year or who are having milestone birthdays focusing on their contributions to pop culture as well as the music industry at large.
On Sunday, June 7 at 9 PM, TV One showcases another music diva, with the legendary Diana Ross giving an unforgettable performance in the movie drama Out of Darkness. The Academy Award-nominated Miss Ross stars as a 43-yr.-old former doctor battling paranoid schizophrenia. The film also stars Rhonda Stubbins White, Beah Richards, and Carl Lumbly.
On Sunday, June 14 at 9 PM, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige is the special guest as TV One premieres and all-new episode of our original interview series TV One on One. Host Cathy Hughes sits down in a tell-all interview with Mary, who discusses her humble beginnings and reveals some dark parts of her past as well as the incredible success and joy she has found on the other side of that darkness. An encore airing is scheduled for midnight.
On Friday, June 19 at 10 PM, the music industry remains in the mix as TV One airs an encore broadcast of the Blair Underwood romantic drama G, a love story set against Hip-Hop's invasion of the Hamptons, where a writer for a music magazine goes out to the Hamptons to interview a wealthy and mysterious hip-hop mogul. The film also stars Richard T. Jones and Chenoa Maxwell.
On Saturday, June 20 beginning at noon, Our Music Month is in full effect as TV One presents the Half & Half --Must Be the Music marathon consisting of episodes of the sitcom with guest appearances from some of the music industry greats including DMX, Tyrese Gibson, Musiq Soulchild, Faith Evans, MC Lyte, Ginuwine, Eric Benet, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
On Saturday, June 20 at 8 PM, the music fun continues as TV One airs the Robert Townsend music inspired drama The Five Heartbeats which is the story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group in the 1960s. The film also stars Michael Wright, Harry J. Lennix, Tico Wells, Leon, and Diahann Carroll.
On Saturday, June 27 at 8 PM, women can finally take a breath as TV One presents an encore presentation of the romantic comedy/drama Waiting to Exhale starring Grammy Award winner Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon. The film, based on the best selling novel by Terry McMillan follows the lives of four African-American women as they try to deal with their very lives. Friendship becomes the strongest bond between these women as men, careers, and families take them in different directions. Often light-hearted this movie speaks about some of the problems and struggles the modern women face in today's world. The film also stars Gregory Hines, Michael Beach, Leon, Dennis Haysbert, and Jeffrey D. Sams.
On Sunday, June 28 beginning at 1 PM, the hardest working man in radio Tom Joyner struts his stuff on TV One in an all-day marathon of The Tom Joyner Sky Show. Join Tom, J. Anthony Brown, Sybil, Myra J, and Miss Dupree for an all-day fun fest with special guest music stars including Chaka Khan, New Edition, Kirk Franklin, Kem, Earth Wind & Fire, and Toni Braxton.
On Sunday, June 28 at 9 PM, Our Music Month programming closes out as TV One presents an encore broadcast of the movie Rain, based on the V.C. Andrews novel about a teenage girl who is a musical prodigy and is caught between the two worlds of her inner city adoptive family and her wealthy birth family. The film stars Brooklyn Sudano ("My Wife & Kids" and music legend Donna Summer's daughter), Khandi Alexander ("CSI: Miami"), Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway and Robert Loggia.
Launched in January 2004, TV One (www.tvoneonline.com) serves more than 47.6 million households (Nielsen May 2009 estimate), offering a broad range of lifestyle and entertainment-oriented original programming, classic series, movies, fashion and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. TV One's investors include Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA and CMCSK; www.comcast.com], the leading cable television company in the country; The DirecTV Group; Constellation Ventures; Syndicated Communications; and Opportunity Capital Partners.