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VH1 plans hip-hop awards show

NEW YORK - Hip-hop's pioneers will be celebrated on a new awards show to air this year on VH1, the network's president said.

Though it has recently changed its focus to pop culture and has profiled rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, VH1 has hardly been synonymous with hip-hop over the years.

But network president Christina Norman says VH1 is the perfect venue for such an awards show, which will be an annual event. ``The people who grew up listening to the Sugar Hill Gang and Run-DMC,'' Norman said, ``those are our viewers.''

``VH1 Hip-Hop Honors,'' scheduled for Oct. 8, will honor groundbreaking artists with a show that mixes old-school and current rap performers.

Although other awards shows celebrate rap, including the Source Awards and the BET Awards, Norman says VH1's show will provide an opportunity to laud veteran rappers who may not have gotten accolades in the past.

She noted that the first rap Grammy wasn't given out until 1989, though hip-hop had been around for a decade..

``This is a way for us to acknowledge the unsung heroes of hip-hop,'' she said on Thursday.

No honorees have been determined, she said. The show will coincide with a five-part documentary on the history of hip-hop that will air on the network that week.

``When you think of all of the influence hip-hop has had on our culture, it's a hugely impactful art form,'' she said. ``Hip-hop definitely needs to get its due.''

Funnier TBS plans a 'Gilligan' update

TBS has given the green light to an unscripted update of "Gilligan's Island'' for later this year - although presumably the show won't keep its castaways stranded on an island for another 98 episodes.

The 21st-century take on the 1960s sitcom comes from ``The Bachelor'' creator Mike Fleiss, who professes to be a fan of the Sherwood Schwartz series and says it's ``like a dream come true'' to produce the reality-show version.

The show, along with several other unscripted series and its syndicated sitcoms, is part of an effort to rebrand TBS as a comedy network, with the gramatically suspect ``tbs very funny'' as its tagline.

The change to an all-yucks, all-the-time channel will coincide with the network's launch of ``Sex and the City'' repeats (edited to suit family viewers) in June. TBS will also become the yang to sister network TNT's drama-filled yin.

``The TBS brand will further differentiate the network while targeting desired young adult demographics coveted by advertisers, where the network is already among the most successful in the industry,'' says Steve Koonin, chief operating officer of the two cable networks.

``Gilligan's Island'' is scheduled to premiere in the fall. In line with the original series, the show will cast an actual boat captain, first mate, actress, professor, millionaire couple, and farm girl and strand them on a remote island. They then must work together to get back to civilization.

Some of their tasks will be modeled on episodes of the original show, with the blessing of Schwartz and his son, Lloyd, who have executive-producer credits.

Also on tap for TBS's new brand is ``Outback Jack,'' a dating show with overtones of ``Crocodile Dundee,'' set for a June 22 debut. The show from Nash Entertainment (``Meet My Folks'') takes 12 high-maintenance city women and drops them in the inhospitable Australian Outback, where they give up creature comforts and try to win the affection of Aussie adventurer Vadim Dale.

Unscripted projects from Jamie Foxx and ``Sex and the City'' author Candace Bushnell are also in the works. TBS also has ``Everybody Loves Raymond'' joining its slate this summer.


Talk of the dial

10 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) - ``Stu Taylor on Business.'' Guests: Dottie Walters, author, ``Speak & Grow Rich''; Colonel Alexander Stuart, author, ``Moral Health''; John Cabral, New England Home Zone.

4 p.m. WBNW-AM (1120) - ``Financially Speaking.'' Guests: Ken Allard, NBC military news analyst, discusses his latest book ``Business as War: Battling for Competitive Advantage''; Mark Riley, consultant, discusses executive compensation.

Other radio highlights

7 a.m. WGBH-FM (89.7) - ``Classical Weekend.'' Bach's Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother; Rossini's String Sonata No. 5; Gluck's Iphigenie en Aulide, Overture; Schubert's 4 Impromptus, D.935; Prokofiev's Chout.

Noon WHRB-FM (95.3) - Metropolitan Opera live. In the twilight of Texaco sponsorship, James Levine conducts Wagner's ``Goetterdaemerung,'' with Jane Eaglen and a host of others.

8 p.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) - ``Boston Symphony Orchestra live.'' Mario Venzago conducts Britten, Nyman, and Beethoven's Violin Concerto, with Gidon Kremer, violin.

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