Can’t-Miss TV: ‘The New Edition Story’
No one mistakes $1.87 for a lot of money. Not even for a group of immensely talented young kids from the projects of Boston back in the early 1980s.
That infinitesimal sum was the amount each member of New Edition was handed (in check form, no less) after the group toured in support of their debut album, Candy Girl, which spawned multiple hit singles including the title track, which peaked at #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
This infamous and shameful moment in pop music history is recreated to great dramatic effect in The New Edition Story, BET’s epic three-night miniseries set to ignite TVs and social media ablaze on January 24-26.
Taking those $1.87 checks into consideration, the ongoing drama that has followed New Edition throughout their storied career makes a lot more sense. The in-fighting, the solo efforts, the breakups and subsequent makeups—when the introduction of your God-given talents and dedicated efforts have been reduced to less than a couple of bucks while the people around you are making millions, moving forward in a calm and rational manner would be all but impossible.
It’s that very drama that fuels much of The New Edition Story, which plays as both a cautionary tale and a source of inspiration. Through it all, New Edition and the myriad solo and side projects that grew from it were able to produce an incredible catalog of music, packed with timeless hits that still fill dance floors and populate playlists today. They also inspired generations of boy bands that followed, from New Kids on the Block through the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
That incredible history is captured in incredible detail in the show, one that hits so close to home that it reduced Bobby Brown to tears.
“Chris [Robinson, the film’s director] brought everything out of all these actors to make it special,” Brown revealed to Billboard after watching parts of the project during production. “I was sitting in the chair over here and got a little crying on.”
The New Edition Story is powered by an inspired young cast that captures the energy and excitement that the band is known for, including Bryshere Y. Gray as Michael Bivins, who many will immediately recognize for his role as Hakeem Lyon on the hit FOX TV show, Empire. Rounding out the New Edition lineup are singer Luke James as Johnny Gill, Algee Smith as Ralph Tresvant, Elijah Kelley as Ricky Bell, Keith Powers as Ronnie DeVoe, and Woody McClain as Bobby Brown.
The miniseries comes with the full blessings of the New Edition family, with the six core members and longtime manager Brooke Payne all onboard as co-producers.
“Watching and being alive to be able to see what my life was and has become and where my life is going from this point on? It’s special, man,” Brown mused about the three-night event. “These kids put their hearts and souls into this, just like we put our hearts and souls into our lives.”
The New Edition Story airs on BET January 24-26, 9P/8C