VH1’s New & Improved Formula: Unicorns and Puppies

VH1 President Tom Calderone has told the Los Angeles Times that the network wants to tweak its formula to diminish its heavy reliance on dating shows like “Megan Wants a Millionaire” and “I Love Money,” which have been shelved after Ryan Jenkins — a participant in both programs — was sought in the murder of his ex-wife and subsequently committed suicide.

Charm_1_lg Let’s say I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s common for networks to talk about doing kinder, gentler or at least more varied nonfiction (“reality” seems a stretch in this case) programming, especially in response to a crisis of some kind. But the truth is that VH1 is so deeply embedded in this genre — with shows like “The Surreal Life” and “Flavor of Love” giving rise to offshoots like “I Love New York” and “Charm School” (gratuitously pictured) — it’s going to have a hard time turning the boat around anytime soon.

So while it’s difficult to fault Calderone for publicly addressing this PR nightmare and trying to get past it — at no small cost, by the way, in dumping two completed programs — it will take months before there’s any evidence as to whether VH1 has made good on his comments about altering or evolving the network’s profile.

Until then, I suspect you’ll see plenty of boozin’ floozies and celeb-reality. And don’t hold your breath waiting for the adorable puppies and unicorns.

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