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October 23, 2014

VH1 Greenlights New Series, Continues to Devolve

by Scott Harris, posted Jan 29th 2010 10:45AM
Psychologists and mythology professors are familiar with the concept of the ouroboros, a snake which devours its own tail, feeding on itself in an endless cycle of self-absorption. But among television fans, this idea has a more familiar name: VH1.

That's right, the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that VH1 has given the go-ahead to yet another round of low-budget, lowbrow and low-ceiling reality shows and as usual, the latest group includes one series catering specifically to fans of its other reality franchises -- in this case, 'Transform Me,' which debuts Mar. 15 and which features the network's 'I Want to Work for Diddy' star Laverne Cox as the head of a makeover team.Psychologists and mythology professors are familiar with the concept of the ouroboros, a snake which devours its own tail, feeding on itself in an endless cycle of self-absorption. But among television fans, this idea has a more familiar name: VH1.

That's right, the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that VH1 has given the go-ahead to yet another round of low-budget, lowbrow and low-ceiling reality shows and as usual, the latest group includes one series catering specifically to fans of its other reality franchises -- in this case, 'Transform Me,' which debuts Mar. 15 and which features the network's 'I Want to Work for Diddy' star Laverne Cox as the head of a makeover team.

This sort of insular programming -- chances are you'll only be familiar with Cox if you already watch VH1's other shows -- has become a bit of a hallmark for the network, which in recent years has made a habit of milking every last drop out of its few hits by immediately greenlighting increasingly obscure spinoffs. Consider the 'Flavor of Love' franchise, which began with the fairly simple idea of having a 'Bachelor'-style dating show with Flavor Flav at the center. While that series was easily accessible to most TV viewers -- despite being out of the spotlight for a number of years, Flav still remained a fairly well known personality -- follow-ups such as 'I Love New York,' 'New York Goes to Work' and 'I Love Money' all required previous investment in the franchise in order to have any interest to fans.

But while VH1 has become the network of diminishing returns, it still occasionally needs to kick start new reality franchises to feed off of, which may explain its decision to also give the go-ahead to the morally-questionable series 'Famous Crime Scenes.' While the network has in the past been accused of feeding on Hollywood's bones -- check out such projects as 'Breaking Bonaduce,' 'My Fair Brady' and 'Hogan Knows Best' -- this is the first time those charges have been meant literally, as, starting Feb. 12, 'Famous Crime Scenes' exploits the untimely deaths of stars such as Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur for ratings gold.

Also joining the line-up on Apr. 19 will be 'Undateable,' based on the upcoming self-help book 'Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't be Dating or Having Sex.' Chances are some of those things have already been showcased on one or more of VH1's other dating shows, of course; we're guessing that defecating on your date's floor, as one 'Flavor of Love' contestant did, is pretty high on the list of dating no-nos. Considering just about every one of its shows is a testament to bad relationship habits, then, 'Undateable' would seem to be a bit redundant, but then again, it should fit right in on a network that ran a nostalgia series about last week.

And finally, 'Peak Season: Vancouver,' which previously ran on VH1's Canadian branch, will be landing stateside beginning Feb. 14, just in time for the Vancouver Olympics. We doubt that timing factored into the decision to air it, however.

Because for VH1, there's just one sporting event on the agenda: chasing its own tail.

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