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December 22, 2014

Obama-Inspired 'Dad Camp': Wow, a Non-Sleazy VH1 Show!

by Gary Susman, posted Oct 29th 2009 5:30PM
Barack Obama with Malia and SashaBack in June, on Father's Day, father-of-two Barack Obama issued a call to the nation's dads to "step up" and take responsibility. That call has inspired VH1 to do the same.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, VH1 is planning a show called 'Dad Camp,' in which first-time dads go to boot camp to learn how to be responsible fathers. "In a lot of ways, men aren't what they used to be," executive producer J.D. Roth told the Reporter. "We've made it so easy for men to walk away from their responsibilities. These guys still want to hang with their buddies, and it's time for them to man-up and take responsibility."

But it's not just these baby daddies who are trying to clean up their act. It's also VH1.Barack Obama with Malia and SashaBack in June, on Father's Day, father-of-two Barack Obama issued a call to the nation's dads to "step up" and take responsibility. That call has inspired VH1 to do the same.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, VH1 is planning a show called 'Dad Camp,' in which first-time dads go to boot camp to learn how to be responsible fathers. "In a lot of ways, men aren't what they used to be," executive producer J.D. Roth told the Reporter. "We've made it so easy for men to walk away from their responsibilities. These guys still want to hang with their buddies, and it's time for them to man-up and take responsibility."

But it's not just these baby daddies who are trying to clean up their act. It's also VH1.

VH1 programming chief Jeff Olde cited President Obama's "Step Up" article as an inspiration for 'Dad Camp,' which comes to the cable channel via 3Ball Productions ('The Biggest Loser'). "Obama put that out there, and then 3Ball came in and pitched this," Olde told the Reporter. "There are real-world emotional stakes involved. It's not about winning a prize."

If 'Dad Camp''s premise sounds a bit like those of VH1's 'Tool Academy' and 'Tough Love,' that's not a coincidence. Olde acknowledged to the Reporter that the network is shifting away from the sleazy, cheesy celebreality matchmaking shows ('Rock of Love,' 'Flavor of Love,' 'Megan Wants a Millionaire,' et al) that have been its trademark in recent years. "We've been evolving for a while now, and some of the shows are aspirational, but we're not trying to be the Hallmark Channel," Olde said. "But we are trying to tap all the different moods in pop culture."

VH1 still has at least a toehold in tabloid culture; some of its future "aspirational" shows will still center around such gossip-column targets as Fantasia and Jessica Simpson. Still, it's almost as if VH1 is trying to step up and take responsibility for its own wayward children.

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