For a long time, the best hope African-Americans had of getting airtime on VH1 was that they might play the video for Say Say Say. Now, though, Popmatters claims it's the audience which might save the network, although only because VH1 has realised it can insult the intelligence of audiences of any race, creed or colour:
The Viacom-owned cable channel has found ratings gold with shows such as “Basketball Wives,” “Love & Hip Hop,” and the tamer “La La’s Full Court” and “T.I. & Tiny” and hopes to keep building on the foundation that started with “Flavor of Love.” That 2006 dating show featured female contestants fighting, spitting and defecating on the floor as they vied for the affections of gold-toothed hip-hop lothario Flavor Flav. And VH1 has more reality fare on the way: Its newest contender, “Hollywood Exes,” featuring the ex-wives of Eddie Murphy, Prince, R. Kelly, Will Smith and Jose Canseco, premieres this summer.But don't worry, white America - VH1 isn't abandoning you, either:
“They tapped into an audience that is very faithful,” said Robin Boylorn, a professor at the University of Alabama who focuses on race studies. “It’s smart in terms of marketing and money because in this moment they have the ear of a particular public. I think that they took advantage of that—we see it with all the spinoff shows for ‘Basketball Wives’ and ‘Love & Hip Hop.’”
“The numbers were great,” said Jeff Olde, who oversees all VH1 original programming and production. “It showed to us that an inclusive network can survive.” Olde noted that music remains a part of the channel along with non-African-American-themed reality hits such as “Mob Wives.” Later this year VH1 will roll out a slate of pop-culture-centric and nostalgia-based new shows, including a gabfest helmed by Jenny McCarthy and “Miss You Much,” a revamping of “Where Are They Now.”Actually, thirty year old Macca and Jackson duets are starting to sound more and more like quality programming.