MTV, one of the Viacom networks under ratings pressure, has shaken up its programming leadership by hiring former CW and Lifetime president Susanne Daniels as president of programming.
Daniels replaces David Janollari who had been trying to wean the network from its dependence on high rated by trashy reality shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom by launching more advertiser-friendly scripted shows.
MTV said Janollari, who brought respected shows like Teen Wolf and Awkward to the network, decided not to renew his contract.
The move comes as MTV parent company Viacom gets ready to report its earnings on Thursday. Ratings are down at several networks and ad revenue declined last quarter.
Viacom’s Nickelodeon recently shook up its programming leadership, dismissing Brown Johnson, who had been responsible for such animated hits as Dora the Explorer. But with an aging roster of shows, Nick’s ratings fell sharply, leading to massive make-goods to advertisers during last year’s crucial holiday season.
In a statement, Stephen Friedman, president of MTV said Janollari over his three-year term, “played an important role in advancing MTV’s leadership position the last few years – particularly in fortifying our scripted programming strategy with such hits as Teen Wolf and Awkward and the critically acclaimed I Just Want my Pants Back.”
In hiring Daniels, Friedman said that “MTV is committed to constantly pioneering new, groundbreaking programming – our audience demands it of us – and I can’t think of a person better equipped to help us deliver on this promise than Susanne. Her vision, creativity and proven track record will be an enormous addition to our already stellar stable of top-notch programming talent.”
Van Toffler, president of MTV Music & Logo Group, added that “Susanne’s delivered more breakthrough pop culture hits in one decade than most producers do in their entire lifetimes. Very few people have the talent and instincts to consistently develop shows that connect with young audiences, but Susanne has thankfully kept in perfect touch with her juvenile side and we’re extremely lucky she will now be joining our restless, creative family here at MTV.”
Daniels takes her new post immediately. She reports to both Toffler and Friedman.
In 1994 Daniels became president of entertainment at The WB and its successor the CW. After that she was in charge of programming at Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Channel.