50 Cent and MTV Do a Trump

Rapper and Music Channel Team Up for Hip-Hop 'Apprentice'-Style Reality Show

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Just a week after his purported $300 million deal with MySpace hit the rumor mill, 50 Cent and Viacom-owned MTV have announced a partnership that, according to a report in Variety, will feature the rapper hosting a new kind of hip-hop "Apprentice"-style show. The premise? Sixteen contestants will live together and compete in challenges that relate to being street-savvy, business smart and, no doubt, showing the same kind of deal-making prowess that is a common theme in the entrepreneurial urban music scene.

Each week's episode will end with 50 Cent narrowing his search down by firing two of the contestants, so look out for that new catchphrase "You fired, bro."

MTV also announced a clutch of other new music-based reality shows: "Buzzin'," a humorous reality series that will chart the rise of music artists Shwayze and Cisco Adler; "Busted," a half-hour show that chronicles kids who break the law; and a docu-series that follows T.I.'s community service and march toward jail, which will hew to a formula established by sibling channel VH1's "Countdown to Lockdown," which charted a similar run-up to a jail sentence for top female rapper Lil' Kim.

Finally, Diddy's "Making the Band" is being revamped and will now be called "Making the Rock Band" as Diddy "steps out of his comfort zone."

It's interesting to see this crossover of styles and formats as artists continue to take centerstage in broader-based entertainment properties, where a music career is essentially a star's "cost of admission." As we keep saying at SFS, there's a big opportunity for brands to integrate into music reality- and entertainment-based shows, though with three of the five shows featuring hosts or participants with criminal records, it does make you wonder if, for marketers, there are slightly safer and more mainstream TV vehicles to get involved with.
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