After finishing one of its best quarters ever, MTV: Music
Television last week unveiled four new series -- focusing on music, animation and comedy
-- that will debut in its "10 Spot" program block next year.
One of the shows slated for MTV's nightly 10 p.m. slot is Lyricist
Lounge, described as an urban variety/sketch comedy show that includes dramatic
sketches. The series is based on the Lyricist Lounge in New York City, a hip-hop showcase
where Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy were discovered.
MTV has also given the green light to Diary, which
gives cameras to artists, allowing them the opportunity to speak directly to viewers. The
audience is able to witness what the artist's life is all about.
Spy Groove is an animated show about two hip secret
agents who surf the globe and match wits with sexy women and super villains. The two spies
infiltrate the world of hip movie stars and glamour freaks.
And MTV's fourth new show is Senseless Acts of Video, a
half-hour video stunt show that takes viewers on location to recreate some of the biggest,
weirdest and most dangerous stunts found in today's popular music videos. In the Kid Rock
video "Bawitdiba,"for example, a motorcycle rider jumps over a trailer
home. On Senseless Acts of Video, MTV will try and outdo that feat by having a
daredevil jump over a two-story mansion.
There will also be recreations of less dangerous, but still
daring, stunts. For example, Senseless Acts of Video will try to find a volunteer
to ride a city bus in the nude, as Alanis Morissette does in the "Thank You"video.
MTV last week also renewed a slate of programming that
debuted during the 1998-1999 season, including Undressed, BioRhythm, The Tom Green
Show, Celebrity Deathmatch, Global Groove, The Blame Game, Say What Karaoke, MTV Making
the Video, Daria and Loveline.
Those shows were created during the ongoing tenure of Brian
Graden, MTV's executive vice president of programming and the guru who has revamped the
network's schedule during the past two years, jump-starting its ratings.
MTV just closed a phenomenal third quarter in terms of
viewership. Its primetime ratings were up 33 percent, to a 1.2 from a 0.9 a year ago,
according to Nielsen Media Research data. For total day, MTV was up 17 percent, to a 0.7.
And the network's 1999 Video Music Awards was the
highest-rated basic cable show of the quarter, with a 11.1 rating -- the highest-rated
entertainment show in cable history.
In primetime, Undressed and Downtown also
posted strong ratings in the third quarter, as did new seasons of The Real World and
In the third quarter, MTV was the No. 1-rated cable network
for its target 12- to 34-year-old demographic for the second consecutive quarter.