Nellie Andreeva

MTV is beefing up its original slate with six new series: Craig Wright’s ensemble comedy Underemployed, comedy Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous co-created by and starring hot young comedian Bo Burnham, and four reality and docu-series: Catfish, based on the feature documentary; Hoods, about celebrities going back to their hometowns; Wake Brothers, about two pro wakeboarding brothers; and Wait Till Next Year, about a real-life Bad News Bears high school team. The pickups were made after MTV brass last month screened all pilots developed by head of programming David Janollari and Chris Linn, EVP of programming and head of production.

On the scripted side, MTV went 2-for-2, picking up both of its pilots to series. Underemployed, about a group of recent college graduates, “is the personification of our ‘life amplified’ mantra for the 18-24s who are coming out of high school and college and have to figure out how to make their dreams come true and their career aspiration fit into today’s tough economic times,” Janollari said. The show hails from playwright and Six Feet Under alum Wright, who modeled the lead character after his 21-year-old son. Zach Stone, from 3 Arts, stars 20-year-old Burnham as a kid fresh out of high school who hires a camera crew to film him because he wants to be famous. The project shines light on young people’s obsession with celebrity and exemplifies MTV’s drive to “pioneer, experiment, break the form and bring in unique new voices,” Janollari said. On the unscripted side, Janollari noted that all four new series “are distinct from each other and anything we have on the air”, adding that the network continues to delve into new worlds and subcultures such as wakeboarding. As for Catfish, about online relationships, it “impacts our audience right there live, which is online; it totally speaks to the Facebook generation.” MTV is coming off a solid summer, highlighted by the continuous ratings strength of reality hits Jersey Shore and Teen Mom and the successful launch of two new scripted series, Awkward and Teen Wolf, both of which have been renewed for a second season. Here are descriptions of MTV’s newly picked up series:

SCRIPTED:

Underemployed
On the eve of their college graduation, best pals Sofia, Daphne, Lou, Raviva and Miles believe they’re destined for greatness, and are set to dazzle the world with their brilliance. A year later, cold reality has set in and the group struggles, often comically, to stay optimistic through dead-end odd jobs, terrible bosses, romantic mistakes and major life changes. “Underemployed” is executive produced by Emmy-nominated Craig Wright (Dirty Sexy Money).  The series stars Jared Kusnitz as Lou, Inbar Lavi as Raviva, Michelle Ang as Sofia, Sarah Habel as Daphne, and Latin pop superstar Diego Boneta, who is the lead in the upcoming film “Rock of Ages,” as Miles.

Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous
After graduating high school, Zach Stone, played by young comic star Bo Burnham — who dominates the social media world with over 100 million views online and was the youngest comic to perform on a Comedy Central special — opts out of college and hires a documentary film crew to help him pursue the new American Dream: becoming famous with no apparent talent whatsoever.  Bo personifies the voice of today’s teen generation in an honest, irreverent and ultimately triumphant way. “Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous” produced by 3 Arts. Executive producers on the series are Bo Burnham, Dan Lagana, Luke Liacos and Dave Becky.

UNSCRIPTED:

“Catfish”
From the producers of the hit Sundance feature documentary Catfish comes a new MTV series that brings together couples who’ve interacted solely through LCD screens. Over the course of months they’ve supposedly fallen in love — but what will happen when they meet in real life for the first time?  With the guidance and help of Nev Schulman, the star of the original feature film, in each episode a hopeful romantic partner will go on an emotional trip to discover the truth about their significant other.  Is he who he says he is?  And if so, will love truly blossom?  These emotional journeys promise to be filled with mystery, surprises, and sometimes, even shocking revelations. Catfish is produced by RelativityREAL. Executive producers are Tom Forman, Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Marc Smerling, Andrew Jarecki, Brad Bishop and Jonathan Karsh.

Hoods
Hoods is a new docu-series that follows one celebrity each week as they leave the glitz and glamour of their celebrity lives and go back home to reconnect with their roots. Watch as our celeb takes a walk down memory lane to revisit all the people, places, and things that took them from being a fresh-faced teenage dreamer to one of today’s most popular stars. The pilot episode features pop sensation Ke$ha going back to her hometown roots in Nashville. Shannon Fitzgerald and Tiffany Williams are executive producers for MTV, and Shane Tilston is the executive in charge for the network. The original concept for Hoods was developed by Lisa Stokoe (MTV UK).

Wait Till Next Year
This weekly half-hour docu-series follows the loveable Lincoln Park High School football team is like a real life “Bad News Bears”; they’ve lost 43 games in a row, a five-year losing streak. With the help of a gruff new head coach, they’re hoping to do what nobody else thinks they can — win one game. A reality docudrama Friday Night Lights, this series looks at and celebrates the spirit of transformation and resilience in contemporary teen life. Executive producers on Wait Till Next Year are Craig D’Entrone, Amelia D’Entrone and Sean Travis.

Wake Brothers
Sibling Rivalry can be rough…and in the case of wakeboarding pros Philip and Bob Soven, well, it’s sibling rivalry on steroids.  22-year-old Philip Soven is at the top of his game, and is the No. 1 pro wake boarder in the world. That means lots of cash and celebrity status. But now Phillip’s place in the universe is being threatened by Bob, his 19-year-old brother. Phillip and Bob are always ready to compete for who is better, faster, smarter or has more game with the ladies. They turn life into a giant game. Of course, wakeboarding is always first…but living large is a close second. Wake Brothers is produced by Pink Sneakers Productions. Executive producers are Kimberly Cowin and John Ehrard.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.