Rapper MC Hammer finds new reality on A&E

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MC Hammer, the hitmaking 1990s rapper, will star in a reality series on the A&E cable network.

M.C. Hammer arrives at the taping of the American Film Institute's 36th Life Achievement Award gala honoring Warren Beatty at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, California June 12, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The performer, his wife and five children will be the focus of the half-hour, 11-episode show, which will premiere this year.

The title, naturally, is “Hammertime.”

Executive producer J.D. Roth said the show likely will have the feel of an unscripted version of the Huxtable family from “The Cosby Show.”

“Here’s a dad with five kids, married to the same woman for more than 23 years, living in the same place where he grew up and going to church every Sunday,” Roth said. “He’s had his ups and downs, and it’s what makes him such a character you root for.”

Hammer had a spectacular rise and fall in the early 1990s, becoming a household name and selling millions of records before falling into debt and bankruptcy because of overspending on a lavish lifestyle. Hammer “now lives a more economically balanced life,” according to the show’s press materials, as a “New Age dad” in Oakland, Calif. Earlier this month, he appeared with Ed McMahon in a Cash4Gold Super Bowl ad.

“MC Hammer is an iconic figure in American pop culture, but many people only know him for his music and fashion sense. Now A&E takes an unprecedented look behind his larger-than-life personality and into his life as a devoted husband, father and business entrepreneur,” said Robert Sharenow, senior vice president alternative at A&E.

Hammer has been offered reality shows before. Roth said he told the rap star he wanted to focus on his future rather than the past.

“I really wanted to tell the future of MC Hammer,” Roth said. “What kind of dad is he?”

Roth noted, however, that he would welcome the chance to play one of Hammer’s catchy early hits during the show’s opening credits, if the production can obtain the rights.