TV ONE AND A. SMITH & CO. PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCE DEAL FOR EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF TOP-RATED BIO SERIES "UNSUNG"
-- Series that examines and celebrates talented artists who are under-appreciated will feature Melba Moore, Minnie Riperton, and six others beginning in summer 2009 --
Silver Spring, MD and Los Angeles, CA - TV One and A. Smith & Co. Productions announced the production of eight new episodes of Unsung, the acclaimed series of one-hour biographies that celebrates the lives and careers of successful artists or groups who, despite great talent, over the years have been under-recognized or under-appreciated. The episodes will be executive-produced by Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Frank Sinton of A. Smith & Co. Productions. Mark Rowland will serve as Co-Executive Producer.
A. Smith & Co. produced for TV One four episodes of Unsung featuring DeBarge, Donny Hathaway, Phyllis Hyman and the Clark Sisters, that aired in fall 2008. The four Unsung premieres were viewed by a total 1.1 million people, and the Phyllis Hyman premiere was TV One's highest-rated original program in 2008 and ranked number one in its time slot among ad-supported cable networks for both African-American households and for African-American adults 25-54.
Melba Moore and Minnie Riperton are among those who will be featured in the new episodes, which are expected to begin airing on TV One in June 2009. Unsung will reveal the multiple factors that kept these artists from achieving the iconic commercial status they deserved. And, in the process, these specials will "sing" the praises and celebrate the artistry that has kept fellow artists and fans talking about them for years. Featuring exclusive interviews, musical clips and archival footage, each episode will investigate the stories of these pivotal artists, their journey through music and their perhaps unexpected influence on the music of today.
"Unsung really resonates with our audience. When it first aired, we may have gotten more comments and positive feedback about it than any other entertainment program since we aired the 30th anniversary telecast of Roots," said TV One Senior Vice President of Original Programming Toni Judkins. "There are so many more remarkable artists who have had the raw talent of Diana, Aretha or Stevie, but whose circumstances have prevented them from attaining that iconic status. We are delighted to be teaming up again with A. Smith to be bringing our viewers more of those incredible, real-life stories."
"The opportunity to tell great stories is a key factor in all of the shows we produce and those that Unsung focuses on are truly exceptional," said Frank Sinton. "There are many artists whose stories have not yet been told, which leads to not only compelling television, but also gives these incredible talents a platform for which their stories and music can be showcased."
About TV One
Launched in January 2004, TV One (www.tvoneonline.com) serves more than 47 million households (Nielsen March 2009 estimate), offering a broad range of lifestyle and entertainment-oriented original programming, classic series, movies, fashion and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. TV One's investors include Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA and CMCSK; www.comcast.com], the leading cable television company in the country; The DirecTV Group; Constellation Ventures; Syndicated Communications; and Opportunity Capital Partners.
About A. Smith & Co. Productions
Founded by Arthur Smith and Kent Weed in 2000, A. Smith & Co. Productions generates some of the most innovative, highly-rated and high quality unscripted programming for the domestic and international television marketplace. Since its launch the company has created over 500 hours of programming and developed and produced the number one show in America an astonishing 12 times and a top 5 show over 50 times. The company's current production slate includes the Emmy� nominated hit show Hell's Kitchen as well as Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsay, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Trading Spaces with host Paige Davis, the critically acclaimed documentary series American Gangster and UFC Countdown.