Filling the void left by the highly rated train-wreck docudrama “Breaking Bonaduce,” Clay and Sizemore will topline separate shows that, in some ways, attempt to make amends with the American public for their tabloid tantrums.
VH1 has ordered eight half-hours of each for a premiere in March.
In addition, cabler has renewed “Celebreality” staples “Hogan Knows Best” and “Celebrity Eye Candy” and greenlit production on new series “Celebrity Paranormal Project,” from “The Surreal Life” exec producers Mark Cronin and Cris Abrego; “The Fabulous Life Presents: Really Rich Real Estate,” a new addition to Fab Life Monday nights; and “The Wendy Williams Experience,” a hybrid interview series-docudrama centered on the popular New York radio DJ.
VH1 is on a ratings roll this summer, up 5% in both adults 18-49 and 18-34 demos on the heels of continued success for returning shows “Flavor of Love,” the network’s No. 1 series; “Hogan”; and “Celebrity Fit Club.”
Untitled Clay series will follow the foul-mouthed comic as he boards the comeback train. He hit the height of his popularity in the late ’80s with his brand of intentionally shocking, working-class humor. Skein in itself will be part of his multimedia publicity blitz that includes Clay writing a book, cutting a record and producing his own Sirius radio show.
Episodes will be a mix of Clay’s own footage and more recent scenes from his life on the road and at home, where he is dealing with an on-again-off-again fiancee and two teenagers.
Jeff Olde, VH1 senior VP of series production and programming, describes the show as sort of a “real-life ‘Entourage,’ only with disheveled fortysomething guys in the comedy world.”
“Clay on the road is very different from Clay at home,” Olde continued. “We juxtapose his love-him-or-hate-him stage persona with his real life as a divorced man muddling through parenting and relationship issues. It’s actually pretty light in tone.”
Fox TV Studios is producing the show. Danny Salles will exec produce.
Olde said Sizemore’s series is compelling for a different reason.
“You literally watch a man come unglued and unraveled from his own point of view,” Olde said. “He lays it all out there.”
Series will trail the now-sober actor as he embarks on acting jobs, including a movie for the BBC that’s lensing in Canada. Sizemore will narrate the proceedings, which will include flashbacks to his battles with drug and sexual addiction via tape he shot on his own. Troy Searer, who also worked on “Bonaduce,” and John Foy will exec produce.
Other new reality offerings on VH1 include the following:
- “Celebrity Paranormal Project,” a one-hour that sends celebrities to collect data on paranormal activity in some of the world’s scariest, off-limits places (i.e. an asylum said to be haunted by its late criminal insane wards). Rachel Hunter, Gary Busey, Gilbert Gottfried, Traci Bingham and David Carradine are among the celebs on board to participate. Eight-episode series bows in October.
- “The Wendy Williams Experience,” an eight-episode series that goes behind the scenes of Williams’ radio show in which she talks music and celebrity gossip. Cameras will also follow Williams onto the red carpet, where she is known for asking the “unaskable” of her famous guests. Show, from exec producers Rick Hankey, Shelly Tatro, Michael Hirschorn, Kevin Hunter and Williams, premieres in October. Greg Wacks also produces.
- “The Fabulous Life Presents: Really Rich Real Estate,” a five-part skein that chronicles the cutthroat Los Angeles real estate market through the eyes of high-end Westside Estate Agency, which has outfitted Tom Arnold, Frankie Muniz and Cindy Margolis with multimillion dollar homes. Stick Figure Prods.’ Daniel Laikind, Stephen Cantor, Pax Wasserman, Rob Lee, Fernando Hernandez and Bobby Pura exec produce.