BET brings the lives and career of R&B and hip-hop group New Edition to life in this new limited (six-hour) series.
The New Edition Story chronicles the 1980s Boston-area singers as they grow from boys looking to land a record deal to men in control of their own careers. Two different sets of actors play the six members — Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant — as kids and young adults.
The story begins with four members of the band securing a local talent manager Brook Payne (Wood Harris), successfully auditioning for him one night in a dark alley as he leaves a local club.
Payne eventually adds his nephew to the group — the original New Edition — and it quickly gains a following, playing in local clubs and arenas. Record label owner Maurice Starr (Faizon Love) steps in and their careers catapult.
As they gain national attention, rivalries within the group threaten to tear them apart. Their moms also press management to pay the kids more.
BET does a good job weaving in numerous plot developments and nicely transitions the New Edition kid actors to the teen versions during a scene where the group is onstage performing one of their many hit songs. New Edition fans will also appreciate the soundtrack.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.