On Monday, Jan. 4 VH1’s original movie “The Breaks”, written, directed and executive produced by Morehouse grad Seith Mann and also with a story by Mann and journalist Dan Charnas, debuted with 2.6 million total viewers watching across the country.
The two-hour film had also trended on social media “as the number two topic during its premiere time period,” according to Nielsen SocialGuide.
In a statement, Chris McCarthy, general manager of VH1 and Logo, pointed out that “‘The Breaks’ is VH1 at its best, intersecting 90s nostalgia with hip hop for the masses.”
McCarthy added, “We combined those elements to create a breakout film that successfully continues our efforts in original movies which include ‘Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story’ and ‘Drumline: A New Beat.’”
VH1’s original movie “The Breaks” delivered 2.6 million total viewers upon its debut on Monday night, the network announced Wednesday.
The film scored 1.8 million total viewers in its 9 p.m. debut. An additional 800,000 tuned in for the 11 p.m. encore. It also delivered a 1.3 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic. “The Breaks” also surged on social media, trending as the number two topic during its premiere time period, according to the Nielsen SocialGuide.
In an article that appears in The New York Times, writer Jon Pareles says “The Breaks” is loosely based on “Yo! MTV Raps”. In 1988, also the year “Yo! MTV Raps” was created, the music video program—with its signature rap videos, and interviews with rap artists and live in studio performances and comedy—started something that would eventually take off beyond its niche audience:
“Yo! MTV Raps,” which started in 1988, was expanding the hip-hop audience beyond its urban core, and MC Hammer had a worldwide hit with “U Can’t Touch This.”
“But at the same time the crack epidemic was closing down the New York City clubs that had been hip-hop laboratories, while radio stations still resisted hip-hop’s genuine innovators and major labels considered hip-hop a novelty that would run its course,” Parales continued. “Everyone involved was inventing the music and the business on the spot.”
That’s the backdrop for “The Breaks,” a TV movie produced by VH1 that has its premiere on Monday. It’s an affectionate, determinedly credible period piece with lightly fictionalized versions of people and places from the era. It’s also what one of its executive producers, the journalist and author Dan Charnas, describes as a “backdoor pilot,” a two-hour film introducing characters and plotlines that, if well received, could be the basis for a continuing series. VH1 will make that decision after the premiere. “Within a week we should probably have a good idea of whether it goes forward or not,” Seith Mann, its screenwriter and director, said.
In addition, “The Breaks” could turn out to be a continuing series, but that depended on how the filmed performed during its debut, of course.
“Within a week we should probably have a good idea of whether it goes forward or not,” Mann told The New York Times at the time.