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October 28, 2009

VH1 orders baby daddy boot camp reality show

Roth Having taught slovenly guys to be gentlemen, VH1 next plans to instruct unprepared men on how to be good fathers.

The network has ordered a new reality series from "The Biggest Loser" producer 3Ball Prods. tentatively titled "Dad Camp," in which first-time fathers receive a crash course in grown-up responsibilities.

"In a lot of ways, men aren't what they used to be," executive producer JD Roth said. "We've made it so easy for men to walk away from their responsibilities. These guys still want to hang with their buddies, and it's time for them to man-up and take responsibility."

VH1 programming head Jeff Olde said the series was inspired by President Obama's call in June for fathers to "step up" and take responsibility for their children.

"Obama put that out there, and then 3Ball came in and pitched this," Olde said. "There are real-world emotional stakes involved. It's not about winning a prize."

Although the show sounds a bit like VH1's popular guy-makeover series "Tool Academy," Olde said it has "more textures" to its storytelling.

"Dad Camp" is part of the network's move toward more inspirational programming and its shift from the more tabloid-friendly dating shows that were a recent source of controversy for the network.

The shift started with programs like "Tough Love" and will continue with upcoming reality fare starring Fantasia and Jessica Simpson.

"We've been evolving for a while now, and some of the shows are aspirational, but we're not trying to be the Hallmark Channel," Olde said. "But we are trying to tap all the different moods in pop culture."

In addition to Roth, "Dad Camp" executive producers are Olde, Adam Greener, Todd Nelson, Matt Assmus, Jill Holmes, Sean Boyle and Csherian Coleman.

An episode count hasn't been cleared yet, and the show's title is still temporary (My suggestion: "Baby Daddy Boot Camp"!).


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