From Stevie J’s mercurial relationship with the “Puerto Rican Princess” to whatever is going on in Mama Dee’s “castle,” Vh1’s drama-filled reality show Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is a ratings hit. Debuting in 2012 and produced by Mona Young Scott and Monami Entertainment, the LHHATL is as much about Atlanta’s burgeoning music scene as it is the personalities behind it.
And now, its reign may be coming to an end.
Rumors are swirling that the show may be losing its entire cast and may not return. As one of the most controversial franchises in television, the Atlanta series was the highest rated in the Love & Hip Hop franchise—which includes New York and Hollywood editions.
Sources close to the production team say a full-scale revamp is among the possibilities, but all of the current cast members—including hit maker Stevie J, R&B star K. Michelle and Joseline Hernandez—have been told that their contracts will not be renewed. A source told The Daily Beast that execs at Monami are looking to add new cities to the mix and that no spin-offs from Atlanta are in the works.
The firings come as filming for the season 5 reunion special gets underway. Some industry insiders pointed to both on and off-screen drama. One cast member, Tommie Lee, was fired mid-season after allegedly making what producers viewed as death threats against other cast mates. Lee purportedly has a lengthy arrest record that includes felony theft and battery charges.
Season 5 introduced the audience to the King family. Led by matriarch Karen “KK” King, who faces a 30-year sentences on a litany of criminal charges, the family is well-known in Atlanta. King was arrested and charged last month in a forgery and identity theft case stemming from shoplifting incidents at a Saks Fifth Avenue store. Her sons Lyndon and Will, rappers known as Sass and Scrapp, were allegedly involved in the brutal beating of her ex-boyfriend back in 2012.
The ex, 46-year-old Lyndon Baines Smith, was found during a Cleburne County, Alabama traffic stop in the trunk of his own car. The King brothers, along with a third man, were charged with assault and attempted murder.
Prior to joining the cast, KK King was once featured on America’s Most Wanted and was NBC Atlanta’s “Fugitive of the Week.” Her son Scrapp is now doing a 5-year stint in a Georgia prison for marijuana distribution. His sentencing hearing was featured on a recent episode.
For those keeping score, cast member Tommie Lee was Scrapp’s on-screen girlfriend.
Given their prior (and continuing, it seems) criminal history, many were surprised when the family and their various love interests (ahem, co-conspirators) were added to the cast.
Anyone hoping for a comeback may now be out of luck. Producers are said to be having difficulty attracting new talent. While Atlanta is teeming with celebrity producers, songwriters and performers, few want to risk their reputation on the show.