'Diva' Fever Over? - By MICHAEL STARR
LAST Tuesday's "Divas Live" show could be the swan song for VH1's budding music franchise.
Network officials say they don't believe they can duplicate the superstar rosters of the last two years and - rather than water it down - would rather see the special series die.
"The big question, a year from now, is are there more people like that to absolutely do what previous perfomers have done?," said VH1 executive vice president Wayne Isaak. "If we can amass what we consider to be a competitive lineup next year, we'll consider another show.
"There's a 50/50 chance we'll resurrect 'Divas,' but there's also an outstanding chance we'll take that notion and spin it in another direction," he said. "We have three or four other tremendous ideas."
Although the "Divas Live" event has proven to be a big ratings winner for VH1 in just two years, Isaak said "it's still a jump ball" whether it will return.
He mentioned a possible spinoff series called "Tenors" featuring young male pop stars.
"We're not solid on 'Tenors'," Isaak said, "but it's safe to say we're looking for sex appeal and a changeup pitch compared to anything our viewers have ever seen."
Tuesday night's "Divas Live" special showcased Brandy, Cher, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Elton John (on piano), who performed separately and together.
Losing "Divas Live" would be a blow to VH1, which was caught by suprise by the success of the first "Divas" concert last year featuring Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain and Aretha Franklin.
The network had hoped to build the annual superstar concert into a franchise.
Isaak told The Wall Street Journal that it was "tricky" working with the stars' egos and that this week's show might be the final "Divas."
Indeed, The Post reported that during rehearsals for the show, Tina Turner and Elton John argued and that John stormed out of the rehearsal hall.
Yesterday, Isaak downplayed the clash of egos.
"After doing what amounts to 16 of the biggest female [pop] legends, I've been amazed by their work ethic and drive for perfection," he said.
"Any last-minute changes made in the show were to make the show better," he said. "These performers have their fortunes at risk when they turn up and perform on live TV. None of the performers were divas to me or to the VH1 staff."
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