Whitney Houston’s Family Reality Show Will Help Fans ‘Grieve,’ Producers Say

By Maurice Bobb

“Keep it moving.” That was Whitney Houston’s favorite line, according to Tracey Baker-Simmons and Wanda Shelley, producers of Lifetime’s new docu-series “The Houstons: On Our Own,” which follows the family of the late pop icon as they journey forward dealing with the tragic loss of their beloved “Nippy.”

The family, which includes Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager Pat Houston, Pat’s 14-year old daughter Rayah, Whitney’s older brother Gary and mother Cissy Houston and Whitney’s 19-year old daughter Bobbi Kristina, will try to keep it moving as a unit while dealing with their collective grief and will take viewers along for the ride over the course of 14 half-hour episodes.

The trailer, which leaked on Monday (October 8), reveals that the show will be seen from Pat’s point of view and, showing how she navigates being the executor of Houston’s estate and, more importantly, takes on the responsibility of trying to get Bobbi, who is in the throes of a controversial relationship with longtime family friend Nick Gordon, back on track and out of the tabloid headlines.

“We don’t shy away from any tabloid topics, like Nick, whether he is her brother or is he blood related or not blood related,” Baker-Simmons told RapFix. “Now he’s the boyfriend and how the family really feels about it and dealing with it and where Bobbi and her father Bobby’s relationship stands. There’s a lot of Bobby talk and a surprise ending as it relates to that.”

After news broke earlier this year that the show, originally titled “The Houston Family Chronicles,” was in the works, Whitney’s fans balked at the idea. But the show’s producers, who also served as producers of the Bravo reality show, “Being Bobby Brown,” want to assure the iconic chanteuse’s fans that the show will be respectful to the family.

“Whitney would have been a part of this show had she been living,” Shelley told RapFix. “What we’re doing is a show with respect to her family. We love these people. We’ve had a relationship with them for over eight years. And as producers who have been close to the family, including being invited to birthday celebrations, family dinners and events celebrating milestones in their lives, we set out to be respectful and to present their journey in the proper way. Because remember their journey is about moving forward as a family after her death. And they’re a family simple as that. And they have to deal with everything that goes along with being a family.”

“I think the way that the family looked at this was the fact that the world wanted to grieve with them,” Baker-Simmons added. “And we were already in the process of doing something that showed them as a family and Pat as a business person, wife and mother and the reality is that they were comfortable because they were moving forward with their lives regardless, but happy to share their grief and how they were dealing with the journey and hoping to be an example of family healing and just coming together as one to move forward after such a tragic scenario. The family wanted an honest portrayal of their journey, in this space and time in their lives.”

In a statement released earlier this year, Pat Houston explained the arc of the show.

“I have been working with Simmons-Shelley over the past few years developing a project suitable for myself and our family,” Pat Houston said. “The unexpected passing of Whitney certainly affects the direction of the show. However, it is my hope that others will be enlightened as they watch our family heal and move forward.”

Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning on February 11, 20121 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after the Grammy Awards. The L.A. County coroner added that cocaine and heart disease were also contributing factors to Houston’s death. Additionally, the report revealed that there were traces of Flexeril, Benadryl, Xanax and marijuana in her system, though those drugs played no part in her death.

The show will premiere on Lifetime cable channel Wednesday, October 24 at 9pm.