Liza Minnelli and new husband, David Gest, will be staging a "Cabaret" at their house -- and you're invited. Trying to imitate the ratings magic of sister channel MTV's "The Osbournes," VH1 is offerin
Liza Minnelli and new husband, David Gest, will be staging a "Cabaret" at their house -- and you're invited. Trying to imitate the ratings magic of sister channel MTV's "The Osbournes," VH1 is offering its own version of a celebrity home invasion television series, "Liza & David," starring Minnelli and Gest in their Manhattan penthouse.
"It's an intimate evening at our house, kind of like our wedding," Gest quipped, referring to their lavish, celebrity-studded March nuptials that included 15 bridesmaids. At a news conference yesterday (July 25), the Academy Award-winning actress, who said she was more nervous about meeting reporters than opening her home to the public, looked trim and healthy in clingy black slacks, blouse, and long jacket.
The couple's show will emphasize music, with Minnelli singing solo and joining entertainer-friends in duets, Gest said. It's set to begin in October. While no performers are confirmed, he suggested they would include such musically diverse artists as Mary J. Blige, Alan Jackson, Dr. Dre, Al Green, and Barry White.
Minnelli, 56, and Gest, 48, said they are willing to open up their kitchen, dining room and music room. "I won't let anybody into the bedroom or the bathroom," Minnelli said. The couple didn't detail the show's format or describe how much time they would spend singing, talking, or eating.
Gest said the show will not resemble "The Osbournes," the series that peers into the daily lives of aging rocker Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon, and two of their children. "The Osbournes" has become MTV's biggest hit ever and is coming back for a second season despite Sharon Osbourne's colon cancer surgery and continuing treatments. "We love the Osbournes. I think they're fantastic ... It's not "The Osbournes," Gest said of his show, which he described as more of a musical jam with dinner thrown in.
Other new shows on VH1's development slate include an October debut of "Rock the House," a half-hour weekly reality series in which artists will pay surprise visits to fans and redecorate the fans' rooms. "Music Behind Bars," which premieres Nov. 1, is a documentary series about prison inmates who form musical bands.
VH1 has also acquired the U.S. rights to the BBC series "I Love the '80s," a retrospective one-hour weekly series which premieres Dec. 19 on VH1. Also in development is "Camp Chaos," an animation series based on the satire Web site campchaos.com. The network will also introduce new installments of its "100 Greatest" countdown specials, including "100 Sexiest Artists," (premiering Sept. 23-27) "100 Greatest Love Songs" (Nov. 11-15), and "100 Greatest Moments That Rocked the Tube," slated for a January 2003 premiere.
On Monday, VH1 will premiere a new weekly series "One Hit Wonders," a spinoff of the network's "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders" special. William Shatner, who hosted the countdown, will host the new series. In addition, the network has two new documentary specials in the works: "Bubblegum Babylon" about the dark side of the teen-pop business, and "Karaoke Dreams," which will follow six karaoke singers.
VH1 has yet to produce a hit show on the scale of "The Osbournes." According to Nielsen Media Research, VH1's overall ratings have averaged 197,000 viewers so far this year, down from an average of 231,000 viewers during the same period last year. By contrast, sister network MTV's overall ratings have averaged 539,000 viewers so far this year, up from 507,000 during the same period last year. The first season of MTV's "The Osbournes" averaged 6 million viewers per episode, according to Nielsen.
-- AP & Carla Hay, N.Y.
Copyright 2002 Billboard.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.