04 May 2013

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Love or hate him, Jim Iyke is a superstar. Now, for the first time ever, he invites DStv audiences into his world to get to know the man behind the headlines, thanks to his new reality TV series,  JIM IYKE: UNSCRIPTED! Ada Igboanugo writes

Having had series of bad press for a while now which he ironically described as ‘’good press,” because “no press is bad press (since) all is working to your favour’’, Jim Iyke has emerged with yet another topic to give people, once again, something to talk about.

We’ve heard the good and the bads, the ugly and inhumane, and his personality defined in the most callous way possible, but all that is about to change as the actor has chosen to tell his own side of the story. By simply tuning in to AfricaMagic Entertainment you can get an up close and exclusive look into his glamourous, yet controversial life.

The show which has begun screening, has garnered a lot of responses. Judging from the preview shown to journalist, Jim Iyke could be seen living much like his stereotypical self. He engages a lot of celebrities as well and from some scenes, could be seen openly arguing with a supposed girlfriend. It all looked staged and I couldn’t help but ask, if “Unscripted” wasn’t itself playing to script.

‘’Unscripted is as raw as it gets. Nothing was staged. Didn’t you see the scene where one of my friends flipped while water-skiing? I wouldn’t do anything staged to hurt my friends. It is as real as it gets,’’ he said, barely managing to keep his cool.
In this show, Iyke is also supposedly going to promote his latest movies while delving into the competitive world of men’s fashion and manage the demands that come with his huge popularity, busy schedule and outspoken personality. ‘’I love sunglasses and shoes. I have a fetish for both. And why waste the effort when you can turn what you love into business,’’ he added.

Filmed across cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Accra, Houston, Dubai, Nairobi, Amsterdam and London, a new episode of the show is expected to be screened every Thursday for 13 weeks.
Talking about the series,  Jim iyke said, ‘’there are three types to life - public, private and secret. You have all seen my public life,some don’t like my private life, but no one one knows about my secret life and that is what I’m about to show you.’’

But of all that he would have been offered, why the choice of a reality show? Following a growing trend, perhaps? ‘’Reality TV is the new television. Yes, I would keep acting but I’m going to be devoted to this for the time. Multichoice paid me a huge sum for this and I can’t let them down,” he said
But then would he have considered any other option? ‘’No’’, he answered hastily

So far, Jim’s UNSCRIPTED has been critically criticized as been very real giving fans a free pass into his life. Executive producer Michael Djaba agrees with this saying, “His image has sometimes been described as ‘Bad Boy’ but beneath it all, he’s as real as any celebrity can get and fans are in for one roller coaster ride”.

The choice of Jim Iyke must have been driven by the fact that he has a huge following, albeit for his controversies. Although he has proved to be up to the task as he is indeed a talented individual who is not afraid to take risks, to speak his mind, to blaze a new trend. His charisma, talent and energy is undeniable.

He apparenlty has a lot in store for his loyal fans who have been waiting to see more of him and knowing they could now do so by merely tuning in weekly to see what drives his success, what determines his actions and what defines his choices, takes the trophy home.

Jim Iyke’s show is by no means the first celebrity-driven reality show to hit the airwaves in Nigeria. In the world of the celebrities hungry for attention outside their already established proffession, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde seem to have been a pioneer in that trend.

Starting with the purpose of the show, Omotola’s The Real Me has not only proven otherwise but the content, aside from not being genuine, shies away from the real focus.

Omotola: The Real Me was supposed to prove how much African fans want to see celebrity-focused, reality programming that allows them to get close to the African stars they see on their screens. But the viewer reaction says otherwise. Hopefully with what Iyke has to offer with a different twist to his own agenda, although not far apart from the former, the benefit of a doubt might be given by viewers worldwide.

Yet, putting into consideration all the critique publicly displayed as it is wanted, when asked what he expected of his own viewers, he said: ‘’I don’t care what they would think about this or about what I’m doing or how they would accept it. All I know is that I have been given the opportunity to tell my story and as times go by, they would come to respect and appreciate my honesty and decision to keep everything about me bare.’’

But with his life bare for the world to either see, throw stones, criticise, crucify or accept in good faith and appreciation, one is left to wonder if he is truly ready for what is about to befall him, if he is ready to take it, carry his cross and keep moving regardless of the barbs aimed at him. ‘’Yes, I have never been more ready in my life.”

Tags: Life and Style, Jim Iyke

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