VH1 will pay tribute to Whitney Houston for its next installment of “VH1 Divas,” Billboard has learned. The network will tape the performance in Los Angeles in December, with Houston’s longtime musical director Rickey Minor on board as executive producer. No artists have been confirmed for the tribute to Houston, a three-time performer on “Divas” in 1999, 2002 and 2003.
The tribute has already received the blessing of Houston’s family and her label partners at Sony. “We all felt that if any show could pay tribute to Whitney’s music, it would be ‘Divas,'” VH1 president Tom Calderone tells Billboard. “December felt like enough time where it wouldn’t be sad anymore, you’d want to celebrate her music.”
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Since debuting in 1998, “Divas” has become one of VH1’s most-watched and best known franchises. Previous performers include Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Cher, Tina Turner, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Adele and Kelly Clarkson. The 2011 installment, “VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul,” attracted 1.3 million total viewers and doubled the previous year’s average rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.