MTV is expanding its cash cow, The Hills, into a second show, The City, starring its least-known regular.
There’s little doubt that The Hills – the maddeningly addictive, quasi-reality show starring Lauren Conrad – is the best thing MTV has going for it.
In fact, it may be the only thing MTV has going for it.
The network, which used to actually play music videos once upon a time, is being held afloat by the coming-of-age “drama,” and is doing whatever it can to milk every last cent out of the surprise hit Laguna Beach spinoff.
Spinning off a spin-off
That includes a spin-off of the spin-off.
Yes, really. MTV announced that Whitney Port, who we know as LC’s good friend and co-worker from three-plus seasons of The Hills, is getting her own series, chronicling her move to New York and her work with big shot fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
It will be titled – appropriately, as every New Yorker considers the Big Apple to be the only metropolis on Earth and refers to it as such – The City.
On paper, it seems like a slam dunk for MTV. Everyone is kind of familiar with Whitney Port and her approval ratings are closer to Barack Obama’s than George W. Bush’s – so why not try to expand the brand on the east coast?
There are a number of reasons The City could fall flat, however:
1. We don’t really know Whitney Port. Not even in the reality TV sense. She has gone to great lengths not to put her personal life on The Hills, only allowing herself to be filmed at work. Is she a magnetic, yet relatable personality like Conrad that the nation will identify with and obsess over?
2. Even if Whitney proves worthy of the hype, The City will require a supporting cast to succeed. So far, the bit players include her rumored new boyfriend (Jay Lyon) and BFF (Olivia Palermo). Who they heck are these people?
3. The career angle was a central component of Lauren’s life, as shown on The Hills, for the first couple of seasons. It has gradually become less of a focal point as cat fights and clubbing became more popular. Now that’s going to be the entire premise of Whitney’s spin-off? MTV had better have some more interesting stuff planned, because this doesn’t sound like a big winner on its own.
4. Spencer Pratt. He will not be on it. Everybody hates Spencer, but let’s be honest – he creates massive amounts of drama and makes the show.
What do you think? Will The City help MTV expand its signature brand, or merely dilute it?