MTV: Music Television will delve even deeper into the reality genre during its upcoming television season.
The network will bow four new series in 2001-2002 and has OK'd five additional pilots, said programming president Brian Graden. Overall, Graden said the network will likely premiere as many as 20 new shows before the end of the year.
Graden would not reveal how much the network would spend on its originals, but did say the seemingly high number of series and specials is not that uncommon. Given MTV's young and fickle audience, Graden said, its typical series has a shelf life of about two years.
"It seems like a lot of shows, but for us we have to turn around the content a lot faster than other networks," he said.
MTV's programming slate features producers and performers like Francis Ford Coppola, Arnold Shapiro and Paula Abdul, top-name talent that the network hasn't attracted in the past.
"The producers and talent we're working with are pushing us into new and groundbreaking arenas," Graden said.
Continuing the industry's trend toward reality programming, MTV will debut Flipped, in which teens experience the potential realities of their troubled lifestyles. The show, produced by Shapiro (Scared Straight) will launch July 30, the network said. Also on tap is the reality game show Kidnapped,
in which several people work together to gain the release of their "kidnapped" friend.
Another game show, Who Knows the Band, will premiere June 11 and showcase contestants who grill panelists to determine which of them knows the most about a particular band. Also bowing in June: Becoming, in which fans get to experience the lives of their favorite rock artists.
Graden also announced that several pilots have received the go-ahead, including: Fanography, a biography series that allows fans to tell the story of their favorite stars; The Dustin & Justin Show, an irreverent look at the movies produced by Todd Phillips (Road Trip); New Girl, tracking a deceptively manipulative girl who has transferred to a New England prep school; Varsity Blues, based on the MTV film about the travails and triumphs of a high school football team; and Wetsuit, following friends growing up in a small surfing town.
MTV also has a number of programs in various stages of the development pipeline. Among those showing promise: Your Video Show, an amateur music-video competition; Tales From the Road, a look at several artists' experiences from the road; Bottoms Up, the Copolla-produced program about a family starting a club in their basement; Living Dolls, a technology-driven show that allows viewers to bring their dream dates to life; Music Mogul, in which teams of music industry wannabees compete for a real industry gig; Plus One, a fictional account of the rock group R.E.M.' s career; Rock Chick, following the life of an "almost famous" person; and an as yet-to-be-titled series from Abdul, chronicling the life of a former cheerleader.