Upfronts 2009: MTV Orders Nine Series, Adds More Of 'The Hills'
New episodes of meta-scripted series will debut in the Fall
By Alex Weprin -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/28/2009 12:36:06 PM
MTV has given series orders to nine new shows, and is bringing back four for new seasons. Also on tap are new episodes of long running meta-scripted series The Hills.
The Hills had been on the bubble since word that series star Lauren Conrad would be leaving the series. Audrina Patridge, who inked a deal with Mark Burnett Productions earlier this year, will appear in the new episodes slated to debut this Fall. The new episodes are technically classified as season 5.5, not 6. MTV is still undecided on whether it will be coming back for an additional season.
The new programs are The Alexa Chung Show: a live, one-hour daily variety series hosted by British TV personality Alexa Chung. Live music performances, celebrity guests and "best of the web" segments will be on tap. Alexa Chung willbe filling the slot vacated by Total Request Live last year.
The Buried Life: Which will follow four guys as they attempt to fulfill a list of 100 dreams they have. Examples include getting in the Guinness Book of World Records or kissing Rachel McAdams. They will also help people on stops along the way.
DJ and the Fro: An animated series MTV describes as "Beavis and Butthead for the Millennial generation" Two office slackers who take time our of the day to comment onviral videos.
The Stylist: An unscripted series following four aspiring stylists at a major agency. One of them will ultimately be offered a job there.
The Parkour Challenge: Taking the extreme sport to American TV for the first time.
Pranked: A half-hour prank show with prank ideas culled from the internet.
Popzilla: An animated sketch comedy show that skewers pop culture.
Gone Too Far: A serious unscripted series examining protagonists with additions and need help.
Disaster Date: An afternoon show that features hidden cameras capturing set-up blind dates that go comically awry.
In addition to The Hills, returning series include Run's House, Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, Nitro Circus and America's Best Dance Crew.
The new slate is MTV's attemp to woo the millenial generation, which it says eschews the "me" narrative of generation X for that of "how can I make my mark?" The network has particularly high hopes for The Buried Life, which combines the action of shows such as Nitro Circus with a positive social message.
Somebody help me out here. I'm well aware that Viacom's now in kahoots with Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation to be more of a positive influence on the population. I will say, it's the thought that counts. However, it's no excuse to sacrifice programming and your audience. I wish MTV would wake up and realize that they are MTV: Music Television, not a cesspool for insecure teenagers. Even 10 years ago, MTV's non-music programming was a whole lot better than what they have on now. Shows like Fanatic, Say What Karoke, TRL, Daria, Road Rules, Tom Green, and music specials showing fans having exclusive access to their favorite artists were as funny, serious, inspiring, and positively reinforced as you can get. And guess what, MTV's abandonment in music are the reason why people go to the internet for the newest music. I doubt Viacom will do this, but it's something Viacom needs to do. Viacom needs to sell-off MTV Networks for its' own sake and let MTV's new owners reinforce MTV as a music center again. It needs to get back to its' true roots. It has to be once again the talk of pop culture, not be just another thing that references other hot things in pop culture. Or Viacom could radically dissolve all of MTV's non-music units except MTV News to save money and really put some money back into MTV. From here, MTV can be the music center again and still keep non-music shows like "The Hills", "The Real World", and bring back "Road Rules". Maybe one or two more shows at most that represent what MTV was. In this procedure, MTV can supply its' talent and shows the money it needs to succeed.
Daniel Quintanilla - 4/29/2009 9:56:45 AM EDT
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