MTV Turns to Trump, Lachey, Combs in Quest for New Content

Dec 16, 2008  •  Post A Comment

MTV plans to expand the amount of original programming on the network by launching a two-hour block of original programming on Sundays at 9 p.m. The network also is looking to air original shows at 9 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays starting in the first quarter.
MTV’s ratings were down last year, and the company is looking to avoid airing reruns to keep its young viewers tuned in.
The network greenlit nine new programs aimed at its 12- to 34-year-old target group, including shows from Donald Trump, Nick Lachey, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Johnny Knoxville.
“In the coming months, we are unveiling an extremely ambitious launch schedule filled with an unprecedented volume of new content,” said Tony DiSanto, executive VP of series development and programming. “We are giving our viewers a spectrum of choice across a diverse slate of exciting creative in various genres and formats by expanding to new time slots and fast-tracking projects. Our upcoming Sunday night block of programming has the unifying theme of entrepreneurship, ambition and enterprise wrapped in an adrenalized spirit and attitude.”
“This is a generation with the bravado and drive to reinvent the world, and the ingenuity to actually pull it off,” said Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group. “These new series reflect Generation ‘Why Not?’ living, working and playing on their own terms, ‘adventure capitalists’ if you will, pursuing a variety of thrill-seeking 2.0, express-yourself enterprises.”
The new series MTV has greenlit are:
“Nitro Circus” features Travis Pastrana, who became the world champion freestyle motocross biker at age 14. He captains a team of motocrossers who will create and execute must-see stunts, as his family tries to keep him grounded. Mr. Knoxville serves as an executive producer on the show.
“The CollegeHumor Show,” based on the Web site and shot in the site’s offices, will take a look at this offbeat company as it creates its comedy in a chaotic frat-house environment.
“Rob Drydek’s Fantasy Factory” features Mr. Drydek, of the series “Rob & Big,” as he looks to expand his skateboard empire. The series is centered on Mr. Drydek’s office, which sits atop the world’s first indoor concrete skate plaza, and follows him as he works to make his dreams come true.
“College Life,” shot at the University of Wisconsin in Madison by the students themselves, “gives viewers a raw and unpolished intimate look at college kids telling their own honest stories in their own way,” the network says.
“How’s Your News?” hands a microphone and a camera to an outrageous group of reporters. “How’s Your News?” began as a series of short films directed by Arthur Bradford featuring cast members with disabilities serving as news reporters who interview people on the street. The MTV series will feature a team of reporters who drive across America in a customized tour bus documenting their experiences, which include everything from covering the red carpet at the Grammy Awards to performing at the SXSW music festival to learning to make cheese balls with Amy Sedaris.
“Daddy’s Girls” follows the sisters from “Run’s House” as they move to Los Angeles to pursue careers. Their father, Reverend Run, formerly with Run-DMC, is only a phone call away and will continue to give his girls advice. Sean “Diddy” Combs is executive producer.
“The Girls of Hedsor Hall” is executive producer Donald Trump’s version of “Pygmalion”—it takes 12 hard-partying, foul-mouthed American women and sends them to a proper English finishing school. The school’s visiting instructor is Tara Conner, who nearly lost her Miss USA crown but reformed her wild ways. One girl will graduate and win a $100,000 prize. The series is based on a successful U.K. format.
“MTV’s Untitled Performing Arts Reality Project” (working title) follows the stories of talented teenagers from Cincinnati’s School for the Creative & Performing Arts as they pursue their dreams of stardom. The series is created by Nick Lachey and Colton Gramm.


  1. Here’s a suggestion for MTV. Instead of greenlighting more vapid, uninspired, idiotic reality programming, how about airing, I don’t know, more music-oriented programming?
    Music is MTV’s first name, but the channel only plays music videos for two hours per day in the wee hours of the morning. The remaining 22 hours are cluttered with mindless reality pablum that make celebrities out of vain, spoiled rich kids that contribute nothing to the world at large.
    Even though MTV does have five digital subchannels with a majority of music programming (MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Soul, VH1 Classic, and CMT Pure Country), you’ll rarely see music programming on Music Television, Video Hits One, or Country Music Television.

  2. I worked for MTV’s Street Team ’08 – a press corp of citizen journalists from each state (and me in Washington, DC) to cover the election.
    It was a great idea. And for user-generated content, it was the perfect election cycle. We got raw, unfiltered reactions and stories from young voters.
    But somehow, and to this day is confuses me, no one at MTV News could get it on air.
    With respect to MTV, the program was online and mobile focused. But it was also a “multi-platform” effort. TV seems central to that.

    We live in a world where music doesn’t rate, but mindless reality does.

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