Friday, April 08, 2005

Viacom/VH1 Ripping off Paul Green School of Rock Again?



Posted: Thurs., Apr. 7, 2005, 10:00pm PT
'School' is in session for VH1
Cabler in class with Simmons and RDF
By DENISE MARTIN
VH1 is enrolling in "Rock School."

Cabler has partnered with British reality shop RDF Media ("Wife Swap") for "Rock School," ordering six episodes that take the premise of the Jack Black starrer "School of Rock"to the small screen.

RDF just wrapped production on the series for the U.K.'s Channel 4 -- which has already greenlit two cycles -- with Kiss bass player Gene Simmons educating the classically trained pupils of Christ's Hospital in Horsham, Surrey, on the ways of rock.

VH1 will reformat those episodes for American auds, stocking them with new music and additional Kiss footage from the MTV Networks library in time for a late spring/early summer premiere.

Joe Houlihan, prexy of RDF's U.S. operation, says the series shows a softer side of Simmons, who has recently popped up on primetime in "The Apprentice" and as a guest judge for "American Idol."

"Gene was genuinely interested in transforming the troupe of pre-teens into a rough-round-the-edges rock band," Houlihan said. Simmons was a primary schoolteacher before he formed Kiss in 1972.

"We've been kicking this idea around for a few years," Houlihan continued. "With the Jack Black film becoming a big hit, we feel like the timing couldn't be better."

VH1 is already talking to RDF about possible artists and themes for future editions, but no deals are in place.

Execs were sold on the culture clash at the series' core, said VH1 executive VP Michael Hirschorn.

In the first episode, Simmons pulls up in a limousine -- and the boarding school kids promptly refer to him as "arrogant" and "middle-aged."

"The cultural byplay between this American rock star and these plum English kids is really quite funny," he said.

"It's sort of the trifecta for us," Hirschorn added. "It fits nicely into our Celebreality niche. It's also clearly a music show. And it's got this great multi-generational appeal."

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Hmmm...weird stuff, huh.

First VH1 films this so-called series over three years ago based on the Paul Green School of Rock; then disappears, then the Jack Black movie mysteriously appears, blatantly ripping off Paul. Now, with the huge buzz over the REAL Rock School documentary set to premier in June, VH1 decides to announce this and team up with yet another blatant rip-off?

Hahaha - I especially like the line "They've been kicking this idea around for a few years".

You're damn straight they have. Ever since they attended their first Paul Green Rock School concert three years ago, those bastards.

Also...if Gene Simmons is involved, you know it's all about money, because that fucker never made real music, he was the original corporate rock asshole.

I guess the good news is -- Paul has Newmarket Films behind him, now owned by Time Warner and from the rumors I heard, a series based on the documentary is already under negotiations with HBO and/or The Arts and Entertainment Network.

So I'm guessing VH1/Viacom/RDF will be hearing from an attorney or seventeen today.

I'd still love to know what happened to the hours of footage VH1 took at Rock School, my house and of all the kids in concert...

Oh right. That all ended up in the Jack Black movie. Silly me.

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