Billboard Bits: MTV/Osbournes, Hootie, Ruff Ryders

News on MTV/Osbournes, Hootie, Ruff Ryders

MTVLooking to capitalize on the heat of "The Osbournes," which scored the highest rated series premiere in the network's history, MTV has given the greenlight to six new reality series set to bow in the next two months. The first of the batch, "Taildaters," a dating game in which couples are trailed by two friends who offer advice and keep a dating performance scorecard, premieres Saturday (April 6) at 8:30 p.m.

Also in the pipeline is a John Stamos-produced series that features music stars recalling their firsts: first kiss, first car, and first gig; a movie review show offering critiques from MTV-age reviewers; a "Real World"-esque look at life inside a Northern California sorority house; and "Becoming Presents Wannabes," a summer spin-off of MTV's popular reality series "Becoming," where rock star wannabes are invited to MTV's summer beach house to compete for the prize of "top wannabe."

Audience figures for "The Osbournes," which offers an unvarnished look at the lives of Ozzy Osbourne, his wife and two teenage children, have grown each week since its March 4 premiere. MTV Entertainment president Brian Graden says there's "absolutely a possibility" that MTV will order additional episodes of "The Osbournes" beyond the initial batch of 10. "We just want to give the Osbournes a little space so they're comfortable with being on TV," Graden says. "All indications are that they are."

-- Jim McConville, The Hollywood Reporter

Hootie & the Blowfish is currently recording its next album, expected out sometime this summer via Atlantic. "After a two-year hiatus, making solo albums and babies, we are very excited to go back into the studio," guitarist Mark Bryan said in a statement. The band is recording the as-yet-untitled album in Los Angeles with producer Don Was (Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt), marking its first break with longtime producer Don Gehman. "The first time Don [Was] came to hear us play our new songs, he seemed as excited as we were about the material," Bryan added. "He heard something in us live that he hadn't heard on any of our records, and he wanted to capture that." The new set will be the follow-up to 1998's "Musical Chairs," which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200. In 2000, the Blowfish released "Scattered, Smothered & Covered," a collection of covers the band often performed in its live sets, as well as B-sides, compilation and soundtrack cuts. That set, which the band compiled with input from its fans, debuted at No. 71 on the album chart.

Wesley Snipes will star in the action-thriller "When the Ride Is Ruff," to be directed by Kirk Wong ("The Big Hit") and featuring a soundtrack from the Ruff Ryders label. In the film, Snipes plays a member of a motorcycle club called the Ruff Ryders. While attending a rally in Myrtle Beach, S.C., he is framed for murdering the head of the Biker Council. He and the rest of the Ruff Ryders must travel from South Carolina to New York while eluding every rival gang along the Eastern seaboard. Snipes is producing the movie in conjunction with Ruff Ryders Films. The actor is currently starring in "Blade II," which has racked up nearly $55 million in U.S. theaters in 10 days of release.