Liza and David to VH1: You're the problem!
More than a week after VH1 canceled their stillborn reality show ”Liza and David,” all but blaming the cancellation on difficulty getting David Gest to provide access to his wife, Gest and Minnelli have issued a response through their publicist, saying they gave the network plenty of access, and that it was VH1 that was rude and unreasonable, damaging their apartment and trying to shoehorn unready young performers into a rehearsed musical performance at a dinner party filmed at the couple’s New York apartment.
”Liza and David,” which was to debut in January, was designed as a reality show about the newlywed couple and was to center around celebrity dinner parties given at their apartment, in which Minnelli would sing with guests. But the network filmed only one party before deciding to scrap the show. ”Although we continue to believe that Liza is an amazing talent,” said VH1’s official explanation, ”we were not given the cooperation we were promised.”
In a statement issued Friday, the Gests insisted that they gave VH1 plenty of cooperation and access. ”We didn’t hide anything,” said Minnelli, citing a lifetime spent in the public eye as the daughter of Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli. ”Listen, I came out of the womb and somebody slapped me on the ass and I’ve been in the public ever since.”
While Minnelli acknowledges that she drew the line at letting a camera crew follow her into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (per the 12-step organization’s rules), Gest said that VH1 crews had still filmed plenty of usable footage. ”They have 60 hours of footage that includes Liza singing at Sylvia’s famous soul food restaurant at a Gospel Brunch in Harlem,” he said. ”They have us at Starbucks in Harlem. They have Liza at her dance class and in Central Park. They have me shopping at a food market, buying gifts for Liza at Tiffany’s, shopping for rugs and buying furniture for our renovated apartment, buying clothing, talking and joking with Beyonce [Knowles] and Kelly [Rowland] of Destiny’s Child and plenty more.”
In Gest’s account of the dinner party, where Minnelli performed with older icons like Ray Charles and Luther Vandross, VH1 exec Rob Weiss insisted on getting youngsters Rowland and Michelle Branch up to sing as well, even though they hadn’t rehearsed. ”Kelly Rowland was just on the road for six weeks and told us she would come back and perform,” he said. Said Minnelli, ”Michelle told me she was not prepared to sing that night but would love to come back and do so another time.” But Weiss ”told me he did not care about any of the other artists on the show, they meant nothing to him.”
The couple said that VH1, in rigging their apartment with cameras, ”ruined” the apartment, though they did not specify the damage. VH1 has not commented on the couple’s allegations. ”Obviously,” Gest said, ”VH1’s idea of reality is not ours.” That may be the only thing the two parties agree on.