BET has greenlit new projects that will tell the stories of Grammy winner Bobby Brown and legendary hip hop label Death Row Records in addition to two new “Lip Sync Battle” specials, the network announced Thursday at their upfront presentation in New York.
The Viacom-owned network is looking to capitalize on the success of “The New Edition Story,” the three-part miniseries which drew over 29 million total viewers and was the number one cable biopic of all time in the ratings. As such, “New Edition Story” writer Abdul Williams and executive producer Jesse Collins have signed on to “The Bobby Brown Story,” which will chart the singer’s career from the founding of New Edition to his success as a solo artist. It will air across two nights, with each part being two hours long. Collins will executive produce through JCE Films, a division of Jesse Collins Entertainment.
“Death Row Chronicles” will be a six-part documentary series, exploring the rise of the genre-defining record label. While it boasted the success of Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, and Dr. Dre, the chart-topping and record-breaking sales came at a bloody, controversial cost thanks in large part to co-founder and CEO Marion “Suge” Knight. The series will examine the myths and legends that have sprung up around Death Row, as well as celebrate the groundbreaking music it produced and how it influenced some of today’s biggest hip hop artists. Entertainment One (eOne) and Creature Films will produce.
Finally, “Lip Sync Battle” will produce two one-hour specials for BET tailored to the BET Hip Hop Awards and the Soul Train Awards. LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen, the hosts of the Spike series, will lead both specials, which will feature song choices tailored specifically for the awards shows as performed by celebrities. The specials come as Viacom, which also owns Spike, looks to leverage their most popular properties across their different networks under the leadership of new CEO Bob Bakish.