"Dream School," which debuted Monday (10 p.m. EDT), follows a group of high school dropouts who are trying to graduate. 50 Cent appears in the series with filmmaker Oliver Stone and actor David Arquette.
"The actual reality programs that exist right now ... kind of focus on the train wreck, and this show is more about providing opportunity," the 38-year-old rapper said in an interview last week.
The 15 teenagers from the Los Angeles area who appear in the designed "dream school" dropped out of high school because of issues including fighting, financial problems and pregnancy. One transgender student said bullying forced him out of school and another didn't enter the ninth grade because he wanted to care for his cancer-stricken mother.
"I see a lot of myself in some of the kids," said 50 Cent, who grew up in Queens, N.Y. "My son is 17 and he could very well be in that situation if things didn't have a change for the better with me. I remember ... the obstacles of temptation in front of me."
"Dream School," a six-part series, also features Jesse Jackson, journalist Soledad O'Brien, astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison and producer-rapper Swizz Beatz. 50 Cent, who has sold millions of albums and has appeared in films, is one of the show's executive producers.
He said Arquette made an impact on the transgender student.
"The kid immediately had a connection that felt safe," he said of the 42-year-old actor, whose sibling, Alexis Arquette, is transgender. "Because of (David's) own journey, he was able to utilize his experience to make that person's experience better, and the guy went on to graduate."