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A Q&A With Lil' Romeo

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Lil’ Romeo has his own TV show! Check out Romeo! a new TV show staring Lil Romeo on Saturday’s at 8:30PM on Nickelodeon! We caught up with Romeo at work on the set of his show in Vancouver, Canada.

Romeo! is a family comedy about 13 year old Romeo Miller and his siblings who have formed a garage band called "Pieces of the Puzzle." Each show will feature a new song from the band as it follows Romeo and his adopted brother on their many misadventures in their quest for stardom for “Pieces of the Puzzle.” The show also features crazy cartoon sequences. Romeo's character has a very vivid imagination and his daydreams are played out in cool video game-type cartoon vignettes.

Romeo’s real dad, rapper/entrepreneur Master P plays “Percy Miller,” his dad on the show, a single father and record label executive who is struggling to maintain a normal family life for his children. The Miller clan includes 16 year old Jodi, Romeo’s arch enemy and older sister (played by Ericka O’Keith), Gary, Romeo’s adorable 6-year old brother (Zachary Isaiah Williams), Louis Testaverde, Romeo’s best friend and adopted brother (Noel Callahan), and Ms. Rogers their wacky Nanny (Saturday Night Live’s Victoria Jackson).

Romeo! will touch on serious family issues and kid issues like peer pressure, sibling rivalry and school pressures while we watch Romeo and his side kick, Louis get into all kinds of trouble trying to jump start their family band’s career. Each show will feature a performance of a new song from the Pieces of the Puzzle, soon to be everyone’s favorite band, on and off the air. Just wait until you hear the theme song from Lil’ Romeo and Master P!

Here’s what Lil’ Romeo had to say about his new show Romeo!

Q. Can you describe the concept of the show?

A. I play a rapper by the name of Romeo Miller and me and my brothers and sister have a band called “Pieces of the Puzzle.” We’re all trying to get into the music game. My adopted sister, Jodi, is the lead singer for the group.

Louis is sort of a rocker, so he adds a rock flavor. What's different about the series is that our family is multicultural and our dad is a single dad. We just have a nanny, Mrs. Rogers. She’s really wacky.

Q. Describe the other characters on the show.

A. Jody, Erika’s character, is my worst enemy but I love her at the same time. She's always trying to get on my nerves, you know how big sisters are. She thinks she's right all the time. And she’s scared of bugs.

So l always get her with bugs. We have an episode where we have a lot of bugs and she's scared to death. It's hilarious. Gary is the youngest. He's the little brother who doubles as the DJ. He wants to hang with the older brothers but we don't want to give him a chance because he’s too little and we don't think he's good at anything but then in the end he always proves that he IS good at everything.

Louis Testaverde is my adopted brother who dresses like a rocker. He plays the synthesizer and he's my best friend. He follows Romeo everywhere. My dad, Percy Miller, is really funny.

He's always getting in crazy situations like getting wrapped up in sticky paper. He's scared of mice, so we have an episode where he's hopping all over and he has mousetraps stuck all over him. It was real funny watching my dad do that episode. We were all laughing so hard.

Mrs. Rogers is the nanny and she always says goofy, wacky things. She's the worse cook, so we always have to go out to dinner. My character, Romeo, has the heart of a lion.

He really wants to be successful and tries to get his group places, like radio stations and concerts. Romeo's cool and goofy at the same time. He always thinks he's right.

He tries to get things done no matter what anybody says. Another cool thing about the show is that we are always trying to get a record deal, so you will see the band performing in each episode either at a rehearsal or at a school. It's sort of like seeing a mini-video in every episode with a new song.

Q. What's it like working on Romeo!?

A. We film five days a week, Monday through Friday, and we have the weekends off. Since I play the main character, Romeo Miller, I'm needed all week long. I report to the set at either at 8 am or 11am every day. It's hectic but it's really fun. I have fun on the set with the other kids. We play jokes on each other and on the crew a lot.

Q. Is this show different from some of the other Nickelodeon programs?

A. The format is a little bit like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It's a lot of fun and a there’s lot of comedy. There are points where Romeo wants to have a girlfriend and the girl doesn't like him and other scenes where my dad (Master P) gets involved in some crazy stuff. Those episodes are really funny.

We deal with a lot of family-type issues that regular families would go through. For instance, Romeo and his band want to pursue music careers at an early age, but his father wants him to live a regular childhood life. You have a lot of kids out there who want to be singers or actors and they don't realize it's a lot of hard work. They will learn all about it on our series. They’ll also get to see what it’s like to be in a band and watch us get into all kinds of situations trying to get our music heard.

Q. Who comes up with the ideas for the show? Do you have any input?

A. I write the music for the show. And if I have any story ideas, I turn them over to the executive producers so that they can be incorporated in the show as well. I write a song for every show and it always has something to do with what’s going on on that episode and they you see us perform it.

The songs that I write for the show will be put on a cd. So soon you can have a cd with all of the songs from the show. I like that the show has a lot of music in it and that I can write songs for it and act in it.

Q. How do you feel about breaking ground with this sitcom.

A. I like it. Everyone can watch this...it doesn't gear itself to one audience. Lots of kids can relate to my character and girls can relate to Jodi, Ericka O’Keith’s characheter, she’s kind of a perfectionist and a know-it-all. And some kids can relate to Louis, he’s into rock and roll.

Q. Would you say that you and your dad, Master P, are sort of playing yourselves?

A. We are to a certain extent, since I'm a rapper in real life and my dad is in the business. The difference is that on the show, we are trying to get to the level where Master P and Lil' Romeo are today. In each episode Romeo Miller is trying to get a record deal for his band, and Percy Miller, our father, a music industry talent executive wants to make our dreams come true, but really isn’t a big fan of us working in the business. He wants us to just take our time and experience childhood instead of chasing after fame.

Q. You have some interesting cast members. The funniest character is your next door neighbor.

A. Yes, her character is Myra and she is my biggest fan even though I'm not yet famous. You know how you always have that person supporting you before you are famous? Well, that's Myra. She has a big big crush and she's so crazy about me. She's the type of person that shows up anytime I perform anywhere. She's really wacky. She wears bifocals and everything, kind of like a Steve Urkel character.

Q. Describe the “Romeo!” TV experience.

A. I like having fun on the set, doing the stunts, doing the comedy and trying not to mess up too much on your lines. You get to make a fool of yourself and learn to be oaky with it. And end result is making people laugh.

Q.This is not a straight sit-com; there's animation in it as well.

A. Yeah. Romeo is a master of plans on the show, he’s always cooking up some kind of crazy scheme, so my thoughts show up as a 30-second cartoon. The animation teams works simultaneously while we're working on our comedy portion of the show, so the cartoon is being done while we're filming everything else.

Q.How often do you get to go from the TV set in Vancouver back to California to visit your family?

A. I visit home on alternate weekends. But I have my Mom and my brothers and sisters out here with me sometimes.

I like filming in Vancouver, though; it's a real nice place to be. You can go hiking, you can ride your bike, go to the beach or play basketball. We do lots of stuff on the weekends together, we go bowling or to the movies, lots of stuff.

Q. We know you love to play basketball. Is there a court on the set?

A. We built a basketball court on the set. I'm looking at it right now as we speak. The crew, the cast, my dad, we all play in our spare time.

Q. Who's the best?

A. Me and my dad, of course---we're like Kobe and Shaq. Erica is pretty good though, but she’s not as good as me.

Q. Do you have the summer off from school?

A. Yes, but I have read The Slave Dancers and few other books the teacher assigned and some that I want to read.

Q. We have been hearing about the development of Romeo! for awhile. How do you feel about being part of the Nickelodeon family?

A. It’s real cool. It's a great thing to be part of this network. All the kids watch it and it's one of the best networks for kids. It's real positive. It feels great. I grew up watching Ren & Stimpy, that was my favorite show. And I like Spongebob too. My brothers and sisters watch Nick Jr. all the time.

Q. What did the producers want to accomplish with these episodes? Do you get to have a lot of creative input?

A. What happens is, we shoot a couple of takes and then they tell us to go all out, bring the comedy out more and really do what we want with our lines. That’s fun. Sometimes its hard to keep a straight face.

Q. Are you one of those actors who wants to watch the rough cuts of the series so that you can critique your work?

A. Always, so that I can see what needs to be done better and see how to improve. Then I can go back and do it better the next time.

Q. What do you wear on the show?

A. I wear P. Miller Shorties, my real life clothing line that me and my dad design. It’s in stores like Kohls, Sears, JC Penny and Mervyns. Our slogan is “Bling Bling for less Cha Ching.” There are billboards all over LA that say that.

Q. What age group is Romeo! geared to?

A. I would say that the show is for geared to kids 2 and up---all the way to adulthood. It's for everybody.

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