By Angela Thomas
BET’s highly anticipated mini-series on the legendary R&B group New Edition, will air as a six hour, three-night event on January 24, 25, and 26, 2017 at 9 PM ET/PT on BET.
The New Edition mini-series chronicles their epic 30 years(can you believe it?)in music. The New Edition cast members include R&B singer Luke James as Johnny Gill; Bryshere Y. Gray as Michael Bivins (yes, it’s Hakeem from “Empire); Elijah Kelly as Rickey Bell; Woody McClain as Bobby Brown; Algee Smith as Ralph Tresvant; and Keith Powers as Ronnie DeVoe. THE NEW EDITION STORY includes award-winning producers James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Terry Lewis and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds,
star-studded cast in the mini-series include; Dante Hoagland, Caleb McLaughlin, Jahi Winston, Myles Truitt and Tyler Williams along with La La Anthony, Yvette Nicole Brown, Monica Calhoun, Lisa Nicole Carson, Sandi McCree Wood Harris, Michael Rapaport, Faizon Love, Duane Martin Tank and Bre-Z.
The three-part series has been in the works for years… It was 2015 when BET actually announced the biopic. Fans are looking forward to seeing the ups and downs of the group including the epic life of Bobby Brown who was forced out of the group in very melodramatic fashion, to his headline making personal life and chart-topping hits. Brown went on to have a celebrated solo career speaks volumes of just how powerful his New Edition fan base is to this day.
New Edition was slick… good guys who dressed to the nines and had moves on stage that were unprecedented at the time. They set the standard and continue today to wow crowds on a worldwide stage.
But back to the biopic, as some of you are thinking you know everything there is to know about N.E.
Everyone knows that Maurice Starr first groomed the fab five, but they boys (as they were then) were “stolen” by MCA Records. The group’s debut was around 1983, and what followed was a series of hit records, as well as onstage fights, contract rip-offs (more common in the music biz than you think) and offstage drama. A lot of that is covered in the mini-series.
So get your popcorn and put on those old duds you’ve kept all these years and dedicate Jan. 24, 25 and 26 to BET for “The New Edition Story.” And for you young cats, it’ll also open your eyes to the ins and outs, and ups and downs of the music industry.
Meanwhile, there are rumors that New Edition will be taking up residency at a hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Boyz II Men does frequent gigs at the Mirage, and until early February. As so check out this Three Part Breakdown of THE NEW EDITION STORY Miniseries:
Part One (2 hours) premieres Tuesday, January 24 at 9 PM /ET/PT
The year is 1978. The city, Roxbury, MA, just outside of Boston. Eleven year old Bobby Brown convinces some friends (Ricky Bell, Mike Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant) to perform in local talent shows in an attempt to win money (and girls). Once the group is formed, they convince a hot local manager, Brooke Payne, to turn them into talent show winners. The boys are eventually discovered by music impresario, Maurice Starr, who signs them to a record deal. They add a fifth member, Ronnie DeVoe, and their debut song “Candy Girl” hits #1 on the charts. Gary Evans, a manager from NYC, promises them a better deal, bigger stardom, and more money. When the boys get a new deal with MCA Records in L.A., things get off to an inauspicious start when MCA president Jheryl Busby, underwhelmed by his new signing, pushes them to deliver a hit album or else.
Part Two (2 hours) premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 9 PM /ET/PT
It’s 1984, and New Edition is in L.A. recording their second album. Ralph, fully aware of the resentment from his bandmates, requests more parts for them to sing. The album is a huge hit; but Bobby’s behavior gets more erratic and outlandish while on the road. Eventually tensions erupt, and the group dynamic takes a pivotal change – the boys vote to kick Bobby out – and New Edition is never the same. Soon Ralph decides that he wants to go solo, leaving remaining members Ricky, Mike, and Ronnie stunned. Mike, the group’s de facto leader, adds R&B singer Johnny Gill to the group. Everything comes to an ugly head when the group meets to record their next album.
Part Three (2 hours) premieres Thursday, January 26 at 9 PM /ET/PT
New Edition’s “Heartbreak” tour is an incredible success and the group is soaring high. Bobby, who has his own hit album “Don’t Be Cruel”, starts off as their opening act. But he soon eclipses them, becoming one of the biggest stars in R&B music. By 1990, all the members have launched hugely successful solo careers – even though there’s tension bubbling under the surface between them. A few short years later when most of the guys are up to their ears in debt, they agree to do a reunion album and tour with all six members, including Bobby. This should be New Edition’s rebirth, but things immediately get off to a bad start. In the aftermath, all six members go their separate ways, trying to navigate life after N.E., leaving little hope to maintain the brotherhood they once shared.