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MTV used to be the network for young people, but its popularity has waned in recent years. The network has come up with a plan to, hopefully, bring folks back into the fold. Viacom, which owns MTV, is looking to take the network away from scripted shows of lower quality and get back to producing more reality, music and even live shows. MTV president Chris McCarthy, who also runs the VH1 and Logo networks, feels like this is the right move, and that they can bring more attention to their few scripted shows by pumping up their reality programming.
We are going to pair those with great reality series. The real opportunity for MTV is bringing back big, over the top, lovable reality characters. That's what made MTV stand out --- great, soapy reality series that appealed to young viewers.
Of course, the older people among us might say that what made MTV stand out was playing music videos basically 24/7, but since the network abandoned that strategy decades ago, I suppose it's fair to say that they really made waves when they started going heavy on the reality shows. While programs like The Real World and Road Rules pre-dated the reality TV boom, MTV has certainly managed to launch some reality shows that became major cultural talking points over (relatively) recent years.
And, Chris McCarthy is definitely right that MTV had some true, soapy reality shows that really got the attention of the channel's young viewers. Even if you weren't watching the shows yourself, you probably remember hearing about The Hills, Jackass, Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, The Osbournes, Pimp My Ride and My Super Sweet 16, for instance. MTV fans went crazy over these shows, and they made stars out of many of the people who appeared in these series. While the channel has had some good success with scripted shows (mostly with Teen Wolf, which is ending after the current Season 6), none of their scripted series have reached the heights of their popular reality shows.
So, MTV is making moves to get their reality show and music groove back in the coming months, and, to that end, the network has already canceled two of its scripted shows. Just this week, freshman comedies Loosely Exactly Nicole and Mary + Jane were canceled by the channel, likely to make room for new programming that will more closely fit the new direction of the network. In his interview with Deadline, McCarthy also noted that MTV is looking to reboot some of the reality shows that helped put the network on the map as a beacon of the genre. This certainly fits with the news that came down a couple of weeks ago, which announced that MTV was bringing back My Super Sweet 16 in the near future.
Well, it looks like MTV has its work cut out for itself over the next few months. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on all the programming changes at MTV as news becomes available to us.