NBC stations pick up ‘Hip Hop Nation’

Apr 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Several NBC owned-and-operated stations are hopping on a new weekly series from Zoom Culture in what could eventually become a national rollout.
“Hip-Hop Nation: Notes From the Underground” is set to air on five NBC O&Os, with a 13-episode “trial run” beginning April 20. The series will air in late-night weekend time slots and examine the hip-hop movement through a network of young digital videographers who explore the culture and lifestyle of the art form across the country.
Kevin Thomas, D. Nakazi and Larry Pickett have been tapped as hosts of the show, with artists Master P and Lil’ Romeo on board as special guest hosts for the April 20 opening episode. Stars already committed to appear in the series include platinum recording artist Mobb Deep and Ali from the St. Lunatics and multiplatinum artists Ludacris, Tha Liks, Lil’ Wayne and Juvenile.
The series successfully debuted as a six-episode pilot on WNCN-TV in Raleigh, N.C., last November, averaging a 3 household rating and 9 share for the month, winning its time slot and more than doubling the ratings of its closest competitor. Joining the rollout of the series will be fellow NBC O&Os KXAS-TV in Dallas, WRC-TV in Washington, WTVJ-TV in Miami and WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio.
“During the 13-week flight, all the NBC O&Os have the right to add `Hip-Hop Nation’ to their schedules if they can find the clearance for it,” said Zoom Culture President and CEO Marty Lafferty. “Our goal is to have it in enough markets over May sweeps to confirm in the ratings what we’ve seen happen here in Raleigh. After that, NBC has the option to order a much larger flight and roll it out to additional stations and affiliates.”
Several major advertisers have already signed on, including Universal Records as presenting sponsor, and Ched-da, a new national urban apparel company. In addition to its sponsorship, Universal will be involved in creative aspects of the series, including providing a celebrity guest host for each episode and access to its roster of high-profile artists in the hip-hop genre. The record company will also deliver exclusive celebrity interviews and “featured artists of the week” on the associated “Hip-Hop Nation” Web site.
Sue Herzog is the creator and supervising producer of “Hip-Hop Nation: Notes from the Underground,” and Kevin Thomas is co-creator, producer and host.
“We are enthusiastic about continuing to run this unique series, which proved in its November run here that there is definitely a strong and surprisingly diverse fan base for its appeal,” said Mike Ward, general manager of WNCN-TV.