Thursday, October 31, 2002
New York Liza Minnelli won't become another Ozzy Osbourne.
VH1 has pulled the plug on the singer's planned reality TV show, complaining that her husband, David Gest, was impossible to work with.
"We weren't given the kind of access and cooperation we needed to make the show work," VH1 spokeswoman Laura Nelson said Wednesday.
It was a blow to the struggling cable network, which watched corporate partner MTV hit the jackpot with "The Osbournes" and had high hopes for the Minnelli show. But VH1 apparently didn't need the aggravation.
Gest would repeatedly cancel production meetings and shooting schedules, and restricted VH1's access to his wife, according to an official at VH1 who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He was also a "neat freak" who ordered a VH1 staff member to stand duty with a portable vacuum cleaner while a hole was drilled in a wall, the source said. The New York Post said Gest required VH1 crew members to wear surgical booties while in their apartment.
When plans were announced this summer, the show was supposed to start in October. But it got pushed back to December and then to January.
Finally, with only one episode filmed, VH1 backed away entirely.
Through it all, Minnelli was terrific, according to VH1.
"We're disappointed that our viewers aren't going to be able to see the Liza that we saw," Nelson said.
The series was designed to give viewers a peek into Minnelli's private life and also show her as the host of parties where she would sing duets with younger musicians.
Meanwhile, MTV announced this week that "The Osbournes" was beginning its second season on Nov. 26. E! Entertainment network's reality show with Anna Nicole Smith had mediocre ratings but was renewed for a second season.