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Corporate Press Release Theater: The 'M' Is for Millennial

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MTV, it is glad to remind you, continues to be a brand leader in providing entertainment to the Young People of Today. And as I’ve said before, it is a pretty remarkable accomplishment that the network, since the early ’80s, has constantly reinvented itself to remain relevant—considering that MTV, were it a person, would be way too old for the MTV demographic. 

But one gets the sense that maybe MTV is a bit nervous about whether it can stay in touch with the kids’ Zeitgeist. First there was that New York Times article about MTV seeking out more idealistic shows for “the age of Obama.” (As I’ve said, I voted for the guy, but do I think he’s made Americans so selfless and high-minded that they will reject new seasons of The Hills? Dude is not magic.) And now MTV has announced a new programming slate, with language that’s full of trying-too-hard proclamations about how it has identified the spirit of “The Millennials.” 

In Corporate Press Release Theater, I usually redact the effusive executive quotes, but as you’ll see if you read past the jump, some of these are just too good. “There’s a palpable generational shift in attitudes that’s informing a new point of view as we develop content and the brand… Millennials have a great sense of optimism and are filled with a ‘can do’ spirit that’s infused into all areas of their lives.”

So what do the Millennials want? Apparently, an “aspirational” reality show about guys trying to help strangers fulfill their dreams. A Beavis and Butt-Head with online videos instead of music videos. And, because MTV has so fundamentally changed in the spirit of the age, pranks shows, hidden-camera dating shows, and all-new episodes of The Hills! (Hey, it’s aspirational!)

In the meantime, my TV is currently showing a marathon of MTV’s Teen Cribs. Enjoy it while you can! Surely the Millennials will not stand for this hedonistic, soulless entertainment for long!

The release after the jump:


New York, NY (April 28, 2009) —   With more top 10 shows for P12-34 than any other network (four out of ten),  MTV has announced a diverse new programming slate including nine new shows and four returning series.  Genres include reality, fashion, sports, comedy, animation and a live afternoon show that embraces the active habits of the social networking generation.  The network’s 2009 programming slate continues to reflect a directional shift geared toward the millennial generation, with shows that are aspirational, escapist and optimistic.   
“There’s a palpable generational shift in attitudes that’s informing a new point of view as we develop content and the brand.   The change in our audience is reflected in new formats, tonal voices and storytelling cadence,” said Tony DiSanto, head of programming for MTV.   “Millennials have a great sense of optimism and are filled with a ‘can do’ spirit that’s infused into all areas of their lives.   Just as we’ve shifted with our audience in the past, we’re now embracing a new brand filter … one that inspires us to break boundaries, bust our mold, and reinvent.”

“Change is in MTV’s DNA and this generation is demanding their own MTV,” said Stephen Friedman, General Manager, MTV.  “Because they expect more of themselves – they also expect more of us.  Whether it’s escapism, aspirational reality or comedy, they’ve demanded that we raise the bar.  That’s what Tony and his team have done with our new slate of programming.”
MTV has been the number one rated full day ad-supported cable network P12-24 for 16 straight years.  The network’s ratings were up in first quarter, having launched four new hits including Nitro Circus, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, Daddy’s Girls and The City.  The network was #1 in prime time (8-11pm) across cable on Wednesday and Thursday nights for P12-34 during the runs of America’s Best Dance Crew and Real World.   MTV’s Sunday night block of programming geared toward young men, tripled its ratings in its time period (9–11 PM).  During its first season, Nitro Circus was #1 in its 10-10:30PM time period among M12-24, even outperforming broadcast.  
·  THE ALEXA CHUNG SHOW [working title]:  A one-hour, daily, live entertainment show that our viewers help to create, taking viewer interaction to a new level, making them the stars of the program. Hosted by smart and witty British television personality and model Alexa Chung, the program will include celebrity guests, musical performances, and the best of the web. The Alexa Chung Show brings MTV’s always-on audience together with Twitter’s instantaneous feedback ability. In keeping with the real-time nature of the show, Twitter will enable the audience to interact with Alexa, celebrity talent, their own friends and the rest of the pop culture loving world on the spot, and in the show. Whether Alexa’s audience is at home, on the move or on the set, Twitter and MTV will capture their experiences and bring them right into the show. Additionally, the RockYou Live video sharing application will let users submit their favorite viral videos and videos they shoot themselves to the show. Fans of The Alexa Chung Show will be able to constantly communicate with the show even when it’s not on air. Alexa’s network of friends are always doing things that matter and now with Twitter and RockYou they’ll be able to constantly keep in touch. Alexa is a brand new face to the U.S. audience – and a new voice for MTV.
Executive Producers:  Tim Healy, Sebastian Scott
Executive Producers: Howard T. Owens and Mark Koops (Reveille)

  • THE BURIED LIFE:   The real life adventure of four young  men on an epic quest to prove that anyone can do anything.  With cameras  rolling, Duncan, Ben, Jonnie and Dave set out with a list of 100 dreams:   everything from kissing Rachel McAdams to Getting in the Guinness Book of  World Records.  But they also made a promise to themselves … for every  goal they achieve on their list, they help a stranger do something on  theirs.   This series explores the exciting wonders of human  potential and the exhilaration of going after one’s dreams – those dreams too  often buried by everyday life.  It’s all in the question:  “What do  you want to do before you die?”
  • DJ AND THE FRO:   MTV brings animation back to  the network with DJ and the Fro.   It’s Beavis and Butthead for the Millennial generation.  DJ and the Fro work for a big  corporation – though they aren’t sure exactly what the company does.  Aimed at the generation that eats,  sleeps and breathes technology — DJ and the Fro combines animation and the  best of the web.  The internet  clips are arguably the stars of the show – the funniest, weirdest videos on  the internet, made funnier and weirder by the observations of DJ and the  Fro.
  • THE STYLIST [working title]:   This new reality series follows a  diverse group of struggling junior assistants as they toil for three  glamorous, highly successful celebrity stylists.  The series follows the young junior  assistants on the job – music videos, movie premieres, photo shoots – and in  their personal lives as they find romance, plot against each other, and try to  make it big in a cut-throat industry.   At the end of each season, one  junior assistant will be signed to a stylist contract with the Margaret  Maldonado agency.  The Stylist  turns the reality competition format upside-down, with no staged challenges or  eliminations.  The jobs are real,  the stakes are real and for these young people, the prospect of success or  failure is very real.  Organic  performance evaluations will always allow the viewer a sense of who’s ahead  and who’s in trouble.  And because  the junior assistants are always faced with the knowledge that only one of  them will get signed, they are always looking into the faces of their  competition.
  • Executive Producers:   Jon Murray and Jeff Jenkins (Bunim-Murray)
  • ULTIMATE PARKOUR CHALLENGE:   MTV brings the world’s  fastest growing extreme sport to American audiences for the first time with  the Ultimate Parkour Challenge.   The essence of Parkour is a sport with virtually no limits.  Athletes run as efficiently as  possible from point “A” to point “B” but unlike a track and field race,  Parkour is performed on any and every environment.  Walls, cars, stairs, railings,  rooftops and ten-foot gaps between five-story buildings, force runners to  leap, roll, climb, vault and fly, using the obstacles in their way to increase  speed.   MTV’s Ultimate  Parkour Challenge captures the essence of the Parkour movement with a new  special event sports competition that will thrill audiences as eight of the  World’s best Parkour athletes defy gravity, showcasing seemingly superhuman  skills in an easy to understand competitive format. Three rounds of  competition will ultimately crown one winner with $10,000 and title of the  Ultimate Parkour Champion.   The show is produced in  association with the WFPF, World Freerunning & Parkour Federation.   
  • PRANKED:  A weekly 30 minute show of the very  best pranks pulled straight off the internet.   The show taps into the era of  technology democratizing the media process.  These homemade pranks are engineered,  executed and filmed by kids themselves.   No producers; no professional editors, no camera men – just the thin  line of technology between the pranksters, their victims and the  audience.   When it comes to  silly humor — MTV curates the best of the best.   
  • POPZILLA:  Nobody is safe from Popzilla.  A rapid-fire half hour animated sketch  show that relentlessly skewers the excesses of pop culture.   With a unique creative voice and  style, the show uses animation that allows for quick turnaround – Popzilla is  built to take on the headlines of the day.   With a quick pace, and many  sketches under a minute, Popzilla is made to live on-air, online and on mobile  platforms.    
  • GONE TOO FAR:  A series of one  hour episodes, each with a unique protagonist who has a serious addiction and  needs help.  These young adults, aged 18-25, are not recreational users  or occasional binge drinkers.  The addict is in a downward spiral,  his family  in crisis and desperate to get their loved one the help they  need.  The show is hosted by DJ AM, one of the most  sought-after and highly paid DJs in the world, who is uniquely qualified to  help young addicts, having formerly suffered from multiple addictions, weight  problems and depression. Working with a local addition expert,  AM leads an intervention with the addict’s family and friends, and  then follows the patient through rehab and back into society.
  • Executive  Producers: Michael Hirschorn and Stella Bulochnikov Stolper, ISH  Entertainment;
  • Cheryl Sirulnick, Gigantic; Paul Rosenberg.  Co-Executive Producer Larry  Vavra
  • DISASTER DATE:  It’s comedy in the afternoons, with a  hidden camera show that guarantees laughs as unsuspecting daters get set up on  disastrous blind dates by their friends.   The friend (our accomplice)  watches from the control room as our team of improv actors put the gullible  dater through the worst date ever.   Our dater unknowingly rings up cold hard cash for every minute they  stay on the date.  After going on  a disaster date, Friday nights alone never looked so good!
  • Executive  Producer: Sally Anne Salsano, 495 Prods.


    • The Hills:  MTV viewers will find out life in  Los Angeles  only gets more complicated as friendships, relationships and loyalties are  tested like never before as “The Hills” returns this fall with more episodes  of season five. Lauren has moved on, but Heidi, Audrina, Spencer, Brody,  Stephanie, Lo and Justin Bobby will be back as the drama continues with fresh  faces, new stories and shocking surprises. Spencer and Heidi will be newlyweds  so the stakes are higher than ever before for the two to make things work.
    • Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory:  Somewhere between Diddy and Willie Wonka lies Rob Dyrdek, a capable  entrepreneur with a comically offbeat way of realizing his own fantasy world.  Rob commands operations in a massive, 25,000-square-foot industrial — and  fully skate-able — warehouse and office complex near downtown Los Angeles. This is the  home of Dyrdek Enterprises, the nerve center and hatching ground for all of  Rob’s crazy schemes, business plans and uniquely ridiculous ideas. Anything  from zip-lines and giant skateboards, to trampolines and indoor blobbing can  be achieved in Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.
    • Nitro Circus: Centered  around the world’s greatest freestyle  motocross rider Travis Pastrana and his crew of top action sport athlete  buddies,  the show follows Travis  and the Nitro Circus Crew as they travel around the world setting up  outrageous stunts and pushing the human body to the limit, constantly looking  to innovate the world of action sports. Whether they’re base jumping, sky  diving, riding, driving or relaxing, this group of tight-knit, highly-skilled,  adrenaline-fueled friends always take the action “to eleven” with the hammer  down.  
    • Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best  Dance Crew: “America’s  Best Dance Crew” <http://www.dancecrew.mtv.com/>  is hosted by Mario Lopez and shot on location in  Los Angeles as dance crews of five to seven members perform their hottest  moves for dance supremacy and a $100,000 cash prize.  Every performance-themed episode gives  insight into the crews’ emotion, spirit and inspiration as they step up to the  challenge and showcase their innovative choreography and skills.  Viewers from around the country choose  their favorite crews via text messaging, phone and online voting (http://dancecrew.mtv.com <http://dancecrew.mtv.com/> ).  One crew will be eliminated each week,  ultimately revealing the nation’s best dance crew.   
  • Run’s House MTV’s first family of  hip-hop is coming back for Season Six. It’s time to step inside Run’s House as  patriarch Rev Run and the rest of the Simmons clan once again open their doors  — and hearts — for our cameras. And, once again, no matter how high the  highs or low the lows, they remain grounded by their strong faith and tight  family bond.