Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, while promoting season two of her VH1 reality series “What Chilli Wants,” last year told me she was trying to put together a biopic about her group TLC.
Though “What Chilli Wants” ended after two seasons, she kept ties with VH1, which announced today it will be doing a scripted biopic about the Atlanta-based girl group. Chilli will be an advisor and executive producer, along with the other surviving castmate Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins.
“With the tremendous success of our scripted series ‘Single Ladies,’ we now know that viewers will come to VH1 for quality scripted projects. We’re eager to expand on that success with this bio-pic franchise that will allow us to explore our music, pop culture, and authentic storytelling strengths in yet another format,” said Jeff Olde, EVP Original Programming & Production, VH1. “We’re honored to collaborate with Chilli, Tionne and Bill Diggins in sharing their own personal story and TLC’s record-breaking legacy with VH1 viewers.”
Acclaimed screenwriter Kate Lanier (“What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “Beauty Shop) has signed on to pen the bio-pic.
TLC has a colorful history that would work well in a biopic. Between 1992 and 2002, the group released four albums and garnered numerous top 10 singles including “Baby-Baby-Baby,” “Creep” “Waterfalls,” “Unpretty” and “No Scrubs.” The trio in 1995, during the height of its second album “CrazySexyCool,” filed for bankruptcy protection.
The band blamed several factors on its financial problems: they had a recording contract which gave them far less money than they had expected; Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was charged with arson after she accidentally burned down her home; and Watkins suffered sickle-cell anemia, which forced the band to cut short a tour.
Lopes then complained after the third album “FanMail” that her role as rapper had been greatly reduced. She even held out from the fourth album to release a solo disc. She died in a car accident in Honduras in 2002. Posthumously, the band released its fourth album “3D,” with four cuts featuring Lopes.
Chilli once dated Usher and had a high-profile break up. T-Boz married rapper Mack 10 and had a child with him.
Chilli and T-Boz have chosen never to replace Lopes and have not toured regularly as TLC since Lopes’ death. The pair did a UPN reality show in 2005 where Tiffany “O’so Krispie” Baker was selected to be a third member of the group but only as a temporary gig. T-Boz appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2009 and Chilli did two seasons of “What Chilli Wants.”
T-Boz has continued to have medical problems and in October filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in federal court.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk