MC Hammer To Star In A&E Reality Series

A&E has picked up a new series starring '90s rapper MC Hammer. The performer, his wife and five children will be the focus of a half-hour, 11-episode reality series set to premiere this year.

The title, naturally, is "Hammertime." Executive producer J.D. Roth said the show likely will play similar to an unscripted version of the Huxtable family from "The Cosby Show."

"Here's a dad with five kids, married to the same woman for more than 23 years, living in the same place where he grew up and going to church every Sunday," Roth said. "He's had his ups and downs, and it's what makes him such a character you root for."

Hammer had a spectacular rise and fall in the early 1990s, becoming a household name and selling millions of records before falling into debt and bankruptcy because of overspending on a lavish lifestyle. Hammer "now lives a more economically balanced life," according to the show's press materials, as a "new-age dad" in Oakland, Calif. This month, he appeared with Ed McMahon in a Cash4Gold Super Bowl ad.

"MC Hammer is an iconic figure in American pop culture, but many people only know him for his music and fashion sense. Now A&E takes an unprecedented look behind his larger-than-life personality and into his life as a devoted husband, father and business entrepreneur," said Robert Sharenow, senior VP alternative at A&E.

Hammer has been offered reality shows before. Roth said he told the rap star he wanted to focus on his future rather than the past. "I really wanted to tell the future of MC Hammer," Roth said. "What kind of dad is he?"

Roth noted that having one of Hammer's catchy early hits in the opening credits, however, would be welcome if the production can obtain the rights. Shooting on the series starts next week, with Roth, Hammer, Sharenow, Todd Nelson, Scott Lonker and Stephen Harris executive producing.