MTV: Music Television has green-lit six new series for its
"10 Spot" lineup, the weeknight 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. block that showcases the
network's original long-form programming.
At an upfront event for advertisers in Los Angeles last
week, MTV unveiled its half-dozen new shows, which include a mix of music, drama and
animation. They include the previously announced 2gether: the series, a spinoff of
the network's first original movie. MTV officials also described five additional shows
they have in development for the primetime 10 Spot.
MTV is hosting four regional upfronts -- which the network
has dubbed "infronts" -- with the remainder set for New York City, Detroit and
Chicago this coming week. MTV says it is getting "in front" of advertisers to
explain the process of how it develops its shows and how research is involved.
Brian Graden, MTV's president of programming, said one of
the network's major programming initiatives has been to build the 10 Spot up to five
nights of original programming, from just the three shows it had just several years ago.
MTV decided, like The WB Television Network, to gradually expand the original programming
in that hour-long 10 p.m. slot night by night.
"We wanted five nights up and active," Graden
Since the effort to add original shows to the 10 Spot began
in 1996, the block has seen a 57-percent increase in household ratings and among 12- to
34-year-olds, first quarter to date versus first quarter four years ago.
In addition to 2gether: the series, the new MTV
programs include MTV Cribs, in which music stars take viewers on a personal tour of
every corner of their homes -- from their bedrooms to their refrigerators. Each episode
will also have a news segment, which will cover topics such as security, privacy and home
The Click is an animated show that chronicles the
character Nitz and his three best friends as they struggle in the post-high-school world.
The pals attend different schools but remain in touch via the Internet, which Graden said
reflects real life.
MTV M.I.A. is a half-hour series that presents the
experiences of stars from MTV's past who have disappeared from the radar, artists such as
Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul.
The other new 10 Spots shows are Live Through This, MTV's
first original hour-long drama, about the relationship between five young people and their
famous parents, stars of a reunited 70's rock band; and Spy Groove, an animated spy
comedy that features two 20-something secret agents.
As the broadcast networks flock to air game shows, Graden
said cable is taking on some of the genres that the Big Four had previously depended on,
such as hour-long dramas and scripted comedies.
That's why MTV has decided to go ahead with Live Through
This and 2gether: the series, according to Graden. He said those two series
will not only be innovative, but also deal with music, which is true to MTV's brand.
Spy Groove is set to debut this June, while Live
Through This and 2gether: the series will premiere this August. MTV Cribs and
MTV M.I.A. are slated to debut in the fourth quarter and The Click will come
on MTV's schedule early next year.
The slate of shows that MTV has in development for the 10
Spot are: Road Home, a half-hour weekly performance/biography series that
chronicles the musical roots of an artist; SpyderWeb, an nontraditional soap that
starts with the funeral of a hated computer-empire czar; Hell House, a soap that
focuses on a boarding house haunted by one of its previous occupants; Jams 2000, a
one-hour weekly show that combines hip videos with online technology; and Video Feuds, MTV's
first live contest show, pitting hot music videos against each other with the best video
judged by viewers.
MTV decided to put two soaps into development because a lot
of musicians make an effort to watch their favorite daytime soap operas even when they're
on the road, said Graden.
"We also noticed that no one was doing a weekly strip
soap for a younger audience," he said, adding that MTV decided to take up the
Last week MTV also said it renewed 10 original series for
an additional season, including Celebrity Deathmatch, Daria, Diary,
Making the Video, Real World, Road Rules, Senseless Acts of Video,
The Tom Green Show and The Lyricist Lounge Show.
In the quarter to date, MTV's ratings are up 14 percent
among households and 12- to 34-year-olds during primetime, the network said.