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MTV's Got Fickle Strategy

4/06/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern

If you haven't watched MTV in a few months, no matter, said MTV Entertainment President Brian Graden; the network always looks different. That's because the network introduces new shows nearly every week in an effort to satisfy its teenage viewers' fast-moving and fickle tastes.

To keep up that flurry of fresh programming, MTV last week ushered in its latest development slate, highlighted by "gimmick-free reality," said Graden.

About a year ago, the music network decided to steer clear of deceptive and shocking reality. "MTV had outrageous all to itself, but we don't anymore," said Graden, who also heads VH1's programming. "Now we're going for something very real and softer and gentler."

One upcoming example he said, is an unnamed reality show on which MTV moves in with newlywed music stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, set for an August debut.

MTV is making pilots of several reality shows in the same vein, including When I Was 17, surveying celebrities on their lives at 17 (premiering April 16 as part of Total Request Live's High School Week) and High School Stories: Scandals, Pranks and Controversies, featuring tales from high schools across the country (also part of TRL's High School Week).

Other reality shows under consideration include a reality show with band Blink-182, a Paula Abdul cheerleading reality show, and Girl Makes Band, on which girls select and mold their ideal band.

MTV is still having its fun, too. On the way is The New Tom Green Talk Show, a one-hour nightly show with the comedian, premiering June 12. In development is Roomates, a reality/game-show hybrid on which a person searches through three bedrooms trying to figure out who is his or her perfect mate, and Posse, on which MTV hangs around with friends of celebs.

Graden also wants to build off the success of afternoon live show TRL, planning more live, real-time shows and some TRL
spinoffs.

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