A Celebration of Motherly Love: Ratings Soared for VH1’s Dear Mama Special

For the second year in a row, VH1 celebrated Mother’s Day with Dear Mama: An Event to Honor Moms. Halle Berry, Gladys Knight, Taraji P. Henson and Robin Thicke were among the A-list stars present at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California earlier this month, taking the stage to give thanks to their own moms and mothers everywhere.

With 1.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the amorous ceremony, it seems these stars aren’t alone in their insurmountable love and gratitude for their moms. Dear Mama was also among the top five most-tweeted shows the day it premiered.

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My Mic Sounds Nice: Viacom and The BEAT Recognize Hip-Hop’s Innovative Women

My Mic Sounds Nice, a panel organized by the BEAT (Viacom’s employee resource group devoted to the African American experience) gave a shout out to the women fundamental to hip-hop’s success. Trell Thomas, VH1 Save the Music Foundation’s director of communication and talent relations, moderated the event at Viacom’s Times Square Headquarters.

The panel featured women who contribute to hip-hop in major ways: Jana Fleishman, EVP of Communication at Roc Nation; LaTrice Burnette, SVP of Marketing at Epic Records; Nadeska Alexis, Senior Editorial Producer at Complex; and hip-hop artist Roxanne Shante.

View the slideshow:

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The Stars, Stunts, and Slime of Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards

Orange blimps invaded Los Angeles, along with a deluge of slime, stars, and surprises, for the 28th annual Kids’ Choice Awards earlier this month.

Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards juxtaposed beloved mainstays (green goo, orange blimps, and celebrity guests) with cutting-edge elements. Stars shot out of an orange slide to get onstage. A drone circled the audience at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center, affixed to an orange blimp, snapping shots of fans and posting them to a second screen in the arena. A “live set” of real kids posing as stage props capped off the ultimate fans-first experience.

WWE star John Cena hosted the extravaganza, getting the chance to flex his muscles in an arm wrestling contest with the cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. This was one of many stunts chosen by the kids watching at home on Nick’s multiplatform, digital voting system.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: The cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn armwrestle with host John Cena onstage with Dj Khaled at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/KCA2017/WireImage)

The cast of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn arm wrestle with host John Cena and Dj Khaled at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/KCA2017/WireImage)

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Viacom & Hot Sugar Are Innovating Music With Virtual Reality

Viacom’s newest virtual reality (VR) project is an exploration unlike any other. The Melody of Dust transports you to a castle-like world where every object you encounter (a rose found in a bedroom; a dove descending from the heavens) has a distinct melody to discover and unlock. It blends music, video and gaming into an immersive, interactive experience so groundbreaking that Rolling Stone dubbed it a “new art form.”

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MTV + Movies + Television = The MTV Movie & TV Awards

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Since Demi Moore announced Terminator 2: Judgement Day as Best Movie from a Burbank stage in June of 1992, the MTV Movie Awards have celebrated the best of Hollywood’s explosive, moving, heart-pounding annual slate – with an MTV-appropriate musical touch delivered by the big name performers of the day (that inaugural show included En Vogue, Ugly Kid Joe, and Arrested Development).

After 25 years of Golden Popcorn statues and hijinks that have included Jim Carrey crashing the stage as an anonymous hippie, Rainn Wilson gearing up in nothing but a Teddy bear, and lots of surprise makeout sessions, MTV is taking a great thing and making it even better, with the inclusion of television in its award categories. The network has officially renamed the show the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

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“We’re living in a golden age of content, and great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether you’re watching it in a theater or on TV,” said MTV President Chris McCarthy. “The new MTV Movie & TV Awards will celebrate even more of the brightest, bravest, funniest and most shared films and TV shows resonating across youth culture.”

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NASDAQ Bell Ringing Launches VH1’s The Breaks, Nostalgic 1990s Hip-Hop Follow-Up to Hit Movie

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

VH1 rolled out its new series, The Breaks, recently with an adrenaline shot opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange and a ceremonial street renaming in front of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. The events teed up the premiere of the hip-hop throwback series that followed and directly continued a VH1 movie of the same name that aired early last year, and ended up ranking as the number two cable movie of 2016.

The Breaks movie debuted last year to huge fanfare and really strong ratings, and so it became a no-brainer to take this fabulous movie to series,” said Amy Doyle, general manager of MTV, VH1 and Logo, flanked by the show’s cast and crew at NASDAQ’s opening bell podium. “The buzz on this show is palpable. Essence has deemed it, ‘VH1’s highly anticipated new series,’ and NPR is calling it – my favorite – ‘a hip-hop answer to Mad Men.’”

 

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VH1 executives and cast and crew of The Breaks gather at the NASDAQ stock exchange to ring the opening bell on Feb. 17, 2017. Photo by Christopher Galluzzo, Getty Images

Later that morning, this crew gathered again on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 44th Street in Manhattan to temporarily rename the street “The Breaks Way.”

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: Atmsphere at the VH1 street renaming "The Breaks Way" for the premiere- Monday, February 20th at 9PM ET/PT. on February 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for VH1)

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 17: Atmsphere at the VH1 street renaming “The Breaks Way” for the premiere- Monday, February 20th at 9PM ET/PT. on February 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for VH1)

The Breaks rumbles out of the unfiltered New York City of 1990, an ode to hip-hop’s gritty rise that is equal parts historical drama, nostalgia trip, and reminder that there was nothing predestined about the genre’s eventual rise.

A period piece set at a crucial juncture where rap had crept into the zeitgeist but still skirted the mainstream, the series immerses us within a crew of fictional stand-ins who shoulder the mighty task of recreating that frantic era: a wily and determined Nikki Jones (Afton Williamson), her boyfriend and radio station rookie David Aaron (David Call), aspiring producer DeeVee (Tristan “Mack” Wilds), hip-hop manager Barry Fouray (Wood Harris), and drug dealer-cum-rapper Ahm (Antoine Harris).

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MTV EMAs Head to London

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

via GIPHY

After a raucous party in Rotterdam last year, the MTV EMAs are heading across the North Sea to London for the first time in more than two decades.

“London is arguably the world’s musical epicenter and it’s both a huge privilege and opportunity to bring the MTV EMAs 2017 to the U.K.’s capital city,” said David Lynn, the newly installed CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, who is based in London. “The EMA creates an incredible buzz wherever it lands it; that will be amplified tenfold in London.”

The city last hosted the EMAs in 1996, before the event moved on to other UK venues, including Edinburgh (2003), Liverpool (2008), Belfast (2011) and Glasgow (2014). It looks as though the city is happy to have us back (or at least the mayor is):


Performers, nominees, host information and more is yet to come. For now, check out last year’s winners.

 

It’s the Kids Turn to Vote as Nick Releases 2017 Kids’ Choice Award Nominees

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Hey kids, it’s your turn.

For about four years now, American adults have been obsessed with a presidential election that happens… every four years. And though Nick gave you the chance to have your say in that race, they decided that they won’t make you wait another four years to stamp another ballot – it’s time to cast your votes for the 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA).

The awards show will hit your screens on Saturday, March 11, but voting is already going on across 28 categories, including some pretty cool new ones, including “Favorite Frenemies,” “Most Wanted Pet,” and “#Squad.” Start voting right now by clicking here. Want more KCA? There’s plenty here.

You can preview all the categories and nominees below, then vote. WWE superstar John Cena will host the event from Los Angeles. We’re not ready to announce who else will be there yet, but we can promise this much: there will be slime.

While you’re at it, check out Cena’s top five reasons why he’s pumped up to host the awards:


Nominees and categories for Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (*new categories):

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“Faithfully Recreated” New Edition Story Delivers Authenticity and Torrid Ratings to BET

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

New Edition exploded out of anonymity from the Orchard Park Projects in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, selling millions of albums as the stamped the template for the boy band super-groups of the ‘90s and beyond. At one time, they were bigger than Beat It, when their 1983 debut track Candy Girl beat out one of Michael Jackson’s signature hits for the top spot on the Billboard chart. In the meteoric and fraught years that followed, they would break up and reunite while spawning the solo careers of Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill, along with the quadruple platinum collaboration of Bell Biv DeVoe.

When this foundational tale debuted over three nights last week on BET as The New Edition Story, it instantly became the network’s most-watched premiere since The Game dropped in 2012. The show went on to average more than 4 million viewers per episode across BET and sister network Centric while dominating the social media conversation for three consecutive nights.

The tale resonated in part due to its raw, unfiltered nature, delivering the uncensored drama of the exhilarating climb to success, the infighting that led to break-ups and reunions, the wild back-stage mingling amid groupies and substances, and the financial collapses that defied their spotlight. This scene depicting the group members’ mothers’ rage at receiving a check for $1.87 after a sprawling and highly successful tour is typical:

“Normally biopics are padded with dramatic falsehoods for entertainment,” wrote Billboard’s Niki McGloster, “but as the executive producers of the film, New Edition kept the story true to how they lived it.”

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