The cable network has signed the rap impresario otherwise known as Sean Combs to lord over an upcoming reality series.
Combs had long been petitioning for a reality show in the vein of MTV's hit The Osbournes. Finally, on Wednesday, MTV announced it had found an appropriate vehicle: Combs will oversee the next installment of Making the Band.
Making the Band II will follow a group of wannabes from raw auditions to full-fledged hip-hop/R&B group under Combs' tutelage. As an MTV press release says, "the audience will be present for all of P. Diddy's thoughts, criticisms and final decisions."
Or, in the words of the ever-modest Puffy: "This show will be a wild ride, no tricks or gimmicks, just P. Diddy reality. I have been creating stars since I was 19 and this show will give insight into what it takes to be at the top. I'm excited to be working with MTV and doing what I love to do--create and nurture new talent."
Combs, who runs Bad Boy Entertainment, has produced such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and 112, in addition to his own top-selling recordings. Combs will select the final band lineup and then help his charges learn to perform together, get a record contract, release a single, shoot a video and play concerts.
The original Making the Band was spearheaded by Real World creators Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jon Murray and aired as a midseason series on ABC in 2000. The initial show followed boy-band mastermind Lou Pearlman--the man behind the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync--as he put together O-Town.
The series hopped to MTV for its second season, tracking O-Town's burgeoning pop career, including the band's signing with Clive Davis' J Records, scoring a chart-topping single ("Liquid Dreams") and releasing an eponymous debut album.
This time around, P. Diddy will assume the Pearlman role.
"Once we committed to a new season of Making the Band, the first person who came to mind was P. Diddy. He's a star maker who has created and produced numerous number one musical acts. He is the perfect person to take Making the Band to the next level," says John Miller, MTV senior veep of original programming and series development. "We're looking forward to...watching P. Diddy nurture and cultivate his new group."
MTV has ordered 10 half-hour episodes of Making the Band II. Production begins next week, with a series of nationwide auditions, and the show will premiere October 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Combs is the latest celeb to land a reality show in the wake of The Osbournes' groundbreaking success. For the past month, MTV has been airing Diary Presents: Brandy--Special Delivery, following the erstwhile Moesha's journey to motherhood. E! will begin airing its The Anna Nicole Smith Show, a series tracking the former Playboy and Guess? model, on August 4 at 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, VH1 confirmed this week that it's in talks with bizarro couple Liza Minnelli and David Gest for a possible show. And Tommy Lee has also been shopping his own show, but so far no network is biting.
As for the Puffy-fied Making the Band, tryouts begin next Monday in Detroit, then hit Miami (July 26), Atlanta (July 29), Los Angeles (August 2), Baltimore (August 5), Washington, D.C. (August 6), and Philadelphia (August 10), before winding up August 11 in New York.