Ed Lover and Dr. Dre, who were instrumental in putting MTV on the rap map in 1988 with “Yo! MTV Raps,” are prepping for battle in the latenight wars. According to industry insiders, the duo, who have a drive-time show on Gotham’s WHTZ radio, are working with New World Entertainment to develop an after-dark strip.
“The sense is that with Arsenio Hall gone and Jon Stewart tanking, there’s a sizable young urban audience that’s not being served by Letterman or Leno,” says an industry insider, noting that because of New World’s deal with Fox, a show would start out with more than 40% of the country cleared.
There’s some internal concern at New World that the duo may not have “broad enough reach” – that’s a polite way of saying they’re not sure two black artists will reach a big enough white audience – but according to hip-hop savants, Dre and Lover may be just the ticket. “Ed Lover and Dr. Dre can be totally goofy or totally serious depending on what the situation dictates,” says Spin magazine scribe Charles Aaron. “These are two smart guys with quick wits who have about as much universal appeal as anybody in hip-hop.”
Before approaching Lover and Dre, New World had preliminary discussions with Will Smith, but that was before his film career took off with “Bad Boys.” New World could not be reached for comment.