Death, pregnancy mark MTV show

Slayings and pregnancy might mark the end for some reality television shows, but for the producers of MTV’s “Making of the Band II,” such issues are a dramatic lure to pull in viewers.

“These are kids who don’t normally get on TV,” executive producer Jon Murray said of the contestants. “They are from tough, urban neighborhoods. It’s almost too difficult to comprehend what these kids have been through and what they have to deal with.”

And so, during the course of a four-month shoot the results of which begin airing at 8 p.m. Saturday the sister of one contestant is slain, while another contestant finds out she is pregnant. Yet another learns that a brother could soon face jail time on a weapons possession charge.

That MTV even shot another “Making of the Band” is a drama in itself. The reality show, built around the creation of a pop group, failed miserably on ABC. But MTV picked up the first series where ABC left off and now is going forward with a new edition, albeit with some twists.

Pop is out. Rap is in. So Murray roped in hip-hop impresario Sean Combs to make the change for “Making the Band II,” which, like its ABC predecessor, charts the selection and grooming of unknown singers into a bankable act. Combs directed the search for the young men and women he’ll mold into groups.

To further the concept, MTV based the show in New York and had its contestant-finalists share a West Side townhouse, in contrast to the Miami setting of ABC’s “Making the Band.”

“MTV had to make the show somewhat hipper and have it be a show not about putting together another boy band, because viewers have seen that already,” said analyst Shari Anne Brill, director of programming services at the ad buying firm Carat.