You've got to hand it to MTV for keeping the "Making The Band" franchise alive.
O-Town, the (extremely) poor man's Backstreet Boys, anchored the first couple of seasons on ABC before the move to MTV, and then the band entered the pop-culture Witness Protection Program, never to be heard from again.
But MTV had a plan: a little something called Sean P. Puff Puffy Diddy Daddy Combs. (Possibly not in that order.)
The current incarnation, which MTV confusingly labels season two of "Making The Band 3," focuses on Diddy's efforts to launch the next great girl group. After going through an entire season in which he found only three girls he liked, he held them over and decided to hunt for more.
Recent drama has focused on holdover Aundrea's struggle to keep her spot in the face of an attack of bad dancing. What fun, after all, is the formation of a girl group without booty-shaking? None.
"Making The Band" isn't terrible, but it is a rather dull blur of hips and warbling and the occasional Diddy sound bite ("White girls can dance now and have asses?"). That's a problem in an arena with fierce competition.
Every "make me a star!" show, particularly with a gaggle of young women in belly shirts, is going to find itself unfavorably compared to "America's Next Top Model." Even more significant is the cultural shadow cast by "American Idol." Given the waning relevance of Diddy himself, it isn't surprising that this show struggles for attention.
"Making The Band" has already lasted longer than most pop groups of the type Diddy is trying to build. As a feat of endurance, that's an accomplishment.
But if the show wants more than pure longevity, it's going to need to find a way to stand out, because it's a tough business out there. Don't believe me? Ask O-Town.
Linda Holmes is a writer in Bloomington, Minn.