VH1, Mo'Nique plan 'Flavor' spinoff
VH1 has come up with another flavor for its megahit “Flavor of Love” franchise, greenlighting production on the Mo’Nique-hosted skein “Charm School.”Spinoff will take 20 of the most camera-friendly female contestants from the first two seasons of “Flavor” and put them in competition for cash and the title of “Charm School Queen.” Lensing will began later this month for a premiere next year. Mark Cronin, Cris Abrego and Ben Samek — the team behind “Flavor,” “Surreal Life” and several other VH1 series — will exec produce “Charm School” via their Mindless Entertainment and Area 51 shingles. VH1 is also working with Mo’Nique to develop and produce another series project for the cabler. Net is doing all it can to capitalize on the phenomenal success of “Flavor of Love,” which wrapped its second season last month with the most-watched episode of an original basic-cable series in adults 18-49 since “The Osbournes” in 2002. Cabler is already in production on another “Flavor” spinoff, “I Love New York,” a “Bachelorette”-style series featuring male suitors angling for the affection of seasons one and two contestant New York (Daily Variety, Sept. 12). Michael Hirschorn, exec VP of programming/production for VH1, says he’s unconcerned with overextending the “Flavor” brand. “We’re always assuming that any franchise we have isn’t going to last forever. But certainly the fact that ‘Flavor of Love 2′ was bigger than season one indicates the audience has a growing appetite for this kind of programming,” Hirschorn said. Spinoffs will each take new angle on the idea, he added — and currently, neither will feature star Flavor Flav. Mo’Nique said she wants “Charm School” to have a different feel than “Flavor of Love.” “When I watched ‘Flavor of Love,’ I was shocked, I was embarrassed, and sometimes I was speechless,” she told Daily Variety. “I don’t want America viewing women like that.” Thesp credited VH1 for “stepping up” to do “responsible television” with “Charm School.” “She wanted to bring her own strong point of view to the franchise,” Hirschorn said, noting that Mo’Nique will have “the ability to take the show where she wants it … She has a very uplifting message and I think what you see on ‘Charm School’ will be very different from what you saw on ‘Flavor of Love.’ “ Format for “Charm School” will have contestants competing in various challenges to test their ability to demonstrate grace under pressure. Mo’Nique — currently on the road hyping her new cookbook, “Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted” — said she’s working on the third season of her Oxygen skein “Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance.” She’s also hoping to reunite with helmer Lee Daniels (“Shadowboxer”) on a new film early next year. Thesp, who recently guested on “Nip/Tuck,” toplined her own UPN comedy, “The Parkers.”
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