Jun 15, 2009

Behind the News

MTV's Graden Exit: Maybe a Good Thing?

BrianGraden.jpgThe man behind "The Osbournes" and "Jackass" is leaving MTV Networks.

The New York Post  broke the news this afternoon that Brian Graden-- president of entertainment, MTV Networks music channels-- was exiting the company by year's end, capping a 12-year run at the cable conglomerate. It was stunning news, and yet somehow felt unsurprising.

The fact is, people inside MTV Networks have been complaining for years that the company-- founded on the rebellious spirit of both rock and roll and the early cable business-- had devolved into a Soviet-style den of bureaucracy. Decisions were made (or, often times, not made) due to infighting and political jousting.

The loss of Tom Freston from MTV parent Viacom in 2006 didn't help matters. Freston, one of the founders of the music channel at the heart of MTV Networks, was part of MTVN's soul.

Whether Graden is to blame for MTV's murky political waters is a matter of debate. But given the dysfunction at the company, change seemed inevitable.

MTV Networks president Van Tofler told Daily Variety that Graden won't be replaced.

If the higher-ups at Viacom are smart, however, they'll find a way to give Comedy Central guru Doug Herzog a broader portfolio.




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