Xtreme offers bilingual reality
By Leila Cobo
MIAMI (Billboard) - Music duo Xtreme has generated a loyal following, as evidenced by the nearly 4.4 million visits to the group's MySpace page and a busy road schedule that includes gigs at venues ranging from clubs to college campuses. And now it's about to become the subject of a reality show.
Banking on the pair's bicultural youth appeal and its potential to reach a wider audience, NBC Universal's bilingual cable channel mun2 will launch a reality series that follows the lives of Xtreme members Danny D and Steve Styles.
"Xtreme: On the Verge," so titled because of the premise that the group is on the verge of a commercial breakthrough, premieres May 7. The weekly half-hour reality show will run for eight weeks.
With their brand of urban bachata -- which mixes the guitar-based romantic style of traditional Dominican bachata with an R&B sensibility and vocalizing -- Xtreme scored one of the best-selling albums by a new Latin act in 2007. The duo's major-label debut, "Haciendo Historia" (Machete), sold 139,000 copies in the United States. (Their 2008 album, "Chapter Dos," has sold 20,000 copies since its release in November.)
"These guys, being from the Bronx, being bachateros with a hip, pop vibe, are definitely what mun2 is about," mun2 programing vice president Flavio Morales said.
Mun2 isn't new to artist-based reality programing, having already tried the concept with Pitbull's "La Esquina," which ran for the last two seasons. But "La Esquina" was more of an entertainment/interview show set in the Little Havana section of Miami, while "On the Verge" has more in common with "The mun2 Hook Up," a show that pairs young Latinos with professional role models, including doctors, athletes and recording artists.
Mun2 considered several acts for the series, ranging from tropical to regional Mexican performers. Xtreme's willingness to allow the channel unfettered access gave it an edge over other acts. In addition, the prospect of shooting the show in New York was a plus for the channel, which has been focused on Miami and the West Coast.
The start of the series coincides with Xtreme's release of "Lloro Y Lloro" -- the second single from "Chapter Dos" -- and a U.S. tour.
As was the case with Pitbull's "La Esquina," "On the Verge" won't feature full-length artist performances, nor will it explicitly promote the music of its stars. But Xtreme's recording career is, of course, at the heart of the show.
"A lot of the content has to do with the working of their album," Morales said. "In the first episode, for example, we get a very realistic understanding of how royalties work. So, it really is a deep dive into what these artists are going through."
Fans also can watch the show online at holamun2.com, where Danny D, Styles; their manager, Ben DeJesus; and Danny D's mother, Gladys Bryan, will participate in online discussions.
(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)