MTV Adds to Reality Lineup

Apr 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Things are getting awfully dramatic over at MTV.

The network has greenlit another entry in its burgeoning “reality drama” genre, which includes “Laguna Beach,” “8th & Ocean” and the upcoming “Laguna” spinoff “The Hills.”

The new series, “Twentyfourseven,” features an ensemble cast of seven young males struggling to find success in Hollywood. The group includes a recent Arkansas transplant, a wannabe actor, a young record producer, a rock singer, a club promoter, a filmmaker and a reggae singer.

“America’s Next Top Model” executive producer Ken Mok will executive produce along with Jesse Ignjatovic and Rod Aissa.

“It’s a drama in the true sense of the word.These are real friends with so much at stake,” said Mr. Aissa, who is also senior VP of talent and series development for MTV. “They’re all at the point in their lives where things need to start happening for them.”

Though the show is about a group of Hollywood pals and includes celebrity cameos, Mr. Aissa rejected any comparison to HBO’s “Entourage,” which was inspired by the real-life experiences of actor Mark Wahlberg.

“It’s more a spinoff of [the Barry Levinson film] ‘Diner,'” said Rod Aissa. “This is truly a story about a group of friends. There’s not a celebrity they’re all focused on.”

MTV has ordered eight episodes for a fourth-quarter debut.

Like “Laguna” and “Ocean,” the series will be shot in a cinematic style and will use a soundtrack from popular MTV artists.

The concept first caught the attention of Mr. Mok as a demo tape by creators Greg Carney and Kevin Tancharoen that was sent by MTV. Though the diverse ensemble sounds like a group culled from a casting call, Mr. Mok and Mr. Aissa insist the 20-somethings were pre-existing friends.

“You really couldn’t invent characters like this,” Mr. Mok said. “There is more drama that happens to these guys in a week than happens to most of us in a year.”

Thus far, MTV’s reality drama genre seems to be maintaining its popularity. The most recent entry, “8th & Ocean,” debuted in March and has averaged 1.4 million 18 to 49 viewers, and 1.7 million within the channel’s target 12- to 34-year-old demo, according to Nielsen Media Research. Though the number is about 30 percent less than the average viewership of the second season of “Laguna Beach,” it’s about on par with the debut season of “Laguna” and about a 50 percent increase on the Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. time period versus a year ago.