VH1 Sounds Original Program Notes

In its most ambitious original-programming slate ever, VH1 will debut an extensive lineup of new series, specials and movies during the 2001-2002 season.

The music network's more than $100 million original-programming outlay includes the Barbra Streisand-produced Pulling Strings, a drama about the corporate takeover of a music company, said VH1 senior vice president of original programming and development Lauren Zalaznick.

Also scheduled to bow later this year is The Hitmen, a dramatic series about the mob's influence in the music business, produced by Goodfellas
and Casino
writer Nicholas Pileggi.

VH1 will also introduce three five-part documentary series: Say It Loud: Black Music In America; VH1 Presents the '80s
and From the Waist Down: Men, Women and Music, Zalaznick said. Rap artist M.C. Hammer and veteran rock group Def Leppard will be the subjects of two full-length original movies scheduled to debut later in 2001, as well as a romantic drama, When The Music Stops.

New series set to premiere this summer include: What's My 20, a countdown of the top 20 all-time greatest music videos in a variety of categories; Cover Wars,
hosted by Late Show with David Letterman
band leader Paul Shaffer, which pits bands against each other in several music-oriented contests; Strange Frequency, a music-oriented, Twilight Zone-like anthology series; and VH1 Undercover.

The network will also premiere The Devil's Music, a one-hour series that depicts the evil one as the head of a record label.

Also in production for the Viacom Inc.-owned network are the animated series pilot Camp Chaos
and the reality-based series Hollywood Hills, Zalaznick said.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.