Bobby Brown: A "bad guy" (onstage, at least) seeks a good image

Of all the interview sessions during the recent Television Critics Association weeks, none had quite as much emotion as the one with Bobby Brown. Now his mini-series runs Sept. 4-5; here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

For Bobby Brown,
this was an uncomfortable moment.

He was talking to
the Television Critics Association about the Sept. 4-5 “Bobby Brown
Story” mini-series. The TCA happened to be at the Beverly Hilton,
where his ex-wife Whitney Houston died six years earlier.

“The spirit of my
ex-wife is probably still here,” Brown said.

A few minutes later,
his discomfort grew. A reporter asked if the film would show his
violence toward Houston. “There were no violent incidents between
me and Whitney,” Brown said flatly.

Another reporter
read accounts of Houston's 9-1-1 call (finding her with a bruise and
a cut lip) and pointed out it was in the public record. “The public
record is wrong,” Brown said. A moment later, the planned time for
follow-up questions was canceled.

That overshadows
what could be a feel-good mini-series about a triumphant life. “Bobby
never really (explained) his side of the story,” said producer
Jesse Collins.

Brown agreed that
he's misunderstood. “If you see me in concert, then you can call be
a 'bad guy.' You see me in person, ... you won't call me a bad guy.
You'll call me Bobby.”

He was 12 when he
joined the Boston pop group New Edition and 17 when he was ousted.
“That defined it for me, being able to do my own music, write my
own songs”

Brown's “My
Prerogative” and “She Ain't Worth It” reached No. 1 and others
hit the top 10. Still, TV ignored him. “If we had social media,
it'd be way bigger .... There were not many shows that we could go
on,” Brown said.

Back then, the BET
was struggling. Now it's thrived with “The New Edition Story”
(rerunning Sept. 4) and this follow-up. “His personality is super,”
said Woody McClain, who plays Brown in both. “It's super big.”

Gabrielle Dennis,
who plays Houston in the Brown mini-series, said he was emotional
even when the actors first read the script. “In the core of this
movie is heart.”

-- “The Bobby
Brown Story” first half, 9 and 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, BET

-- Second half, 9
and 11:30 Wednesday, with first half rerunning at 6:30

-- Both rerun at 5
and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 6:55 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 and 5:30 p.m.
Sunday (Sept. 9), 8:30 and 11:30 p.m. Sept. 11

-- Three-part “New
Edition Story” reruns at 7:05, 9:25 and 11:29 p.m. Monday (Sept.
3), 2:35, 4:55 and 7 p.m. Tuesday