The Pop Game is A+E Networks’ latest addition to the …Game franchise that it has been growing since Lifetime’s Jermaine Dupri-fronted series The Rap Game.
In the hot seat of the new show is R’n’B and hip-hop production legend Tim ‘Timbaland’ Mosley, who takes on five talented but raw musicians and attempts to shape them into fully-rounded artists, with one winning a recording contract with the Mosley Music Group. “This is a side to Tim you don’t get to see,” he tells TBI.
“I love to mentor kids. I love taking my talent and showing them how to make music. It’s something I always wanted to do, and I don’t like to talk about, I like to be about it.”
The series comes from Intuition Entertainment, which was behind The Rap Game, whose second-season ratings propelled Lifetime to the top of the Friday night cable charts last year among female demos and drew an audience with a median age of 33.
Each hour-long episode of The Pop Game will see Timbaland – who created hits for Missy Elliott, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, among others – working with songwriters, stylists and choreographers to set the artists and their manager-parents challenges designed to test their skills and readiness for the big stage.
“These kids are coming from what they think is popular,” says Timbaland. “I let them say what they want to say, and then let them realise they are not that person. They are kids. I work with them and get them to become the best person they can be.
“What I am showing is a new way of doing artist development. I want to show certain processes that I went through.”
The Grammy winnner says the tone of the format is positive – “It’s about showing them the rights and the wrongs” – and that formatting the series locally will require the selected mentor to take that approach.
“You have to find someone who cares like me,” he says. “All the kids will tell you that [I’m like a father to them]. I still look out for the kids out of the show.”
The Pop Game debuted in the US on Lifetime on February 21 and stablemate A+E Networks International is launching it to buyers in Cannes.
The show: The Pop Game
The producer: Intuitive Entertainment
The distributor: A+E Networks International
The broadcaster: Lifetime (US)
The concept: Music legend Timbaland prepares five aspiring pop stars for the limelight, with one winning a recording contract