MyNetwork TV: No More Scripted

Mar 1, 2007  •  Post A Comment

MyNetworkTV is getting out of scripted programming.

The network has dropped plans to produce seventh and eighth cycles of telenovelas, and has decided to cease pursuing scripted content of any kind.

“We’re not developing anything scripted at this time,” said MyNetwork President Greg Meidel. “We don’t have one scripted project, other than telenovelas that have already been produced.”

Instead, Mr. Meidel said the News Corp.-owned network, which has struggled to draw audiences with its telenovela content since launching last fall, is in discussions with top reality producers to acquire new shows.

Mr. Meidel was blunt about his reasons for dropping scripted content.

“The five major networks spend enormous amounts on development and I don’t think we can outdo what they do in [comedies] ‘Family Guy’ or ‘Two and a Half Men,’ or [dramas] ‘House’ or ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” he said. “But I think there’s some great reality projects out there that are available.”

After running telenovelas since September that have averaged about 800,000 viewers, MyNetworkTV is on the verge of a major schedule shakeup.

Next month the network runs its final two telenovelas-“American Heiress” and “Saints & Sinners”-on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with mixed martial-arts fighting Mondays and movie nights Thursdays and Fridays.

The network also recently announced upcoming specials on Anna Nicole Smith (“Anna Nicole Smith: A Centerfold Exposed,” produced by the team behind “Access Hollywood”), an Elton John concert special (“Happy Birthday Elton”) and a fight night preview special (“Countdown to Battleground”).

Mr. Meidel said his current strategy isn’t to focus on a particular brand, but to “make some noise” and bring in new sampling.

“I want people to know MyNet is out there, and there’s a huge percentage that do not know we exist,” he said.

(Editor: Horowitz)