In one of MTV‘s most ambitious moves on the scripted side since Susanne Daniels became president, the network has given a script-to-series commitment to Shannara, a drama series based on Terry Brooks’ popular fantasy books. The project, from Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films, has Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau on board to direct and will be written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. The trio will executive produce with Brooks and Dan Farah (The Crow remake). If MTV likes the script, it is expected to give the project a straight-to-series order. Shannara reunites Gough and Millar with Daniels, who developed and put Smallville on the air while she was entertainment president at the WB. “I am thrilled to be working with the Smallville creators Al and Miles again along with the amazingly talented Jon Favreau,” Daniels said. “We feel that the Shannara novels are a perfect fit for MTV as this type of fantasy genre has continuously proved to resonate with our audience.” Shannara is set in our world, thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization. The story is centered on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. The first season of the potential series will be based on The Elfstones Of Shannara, the second title in the series — a fan favorite accredited with cementing the series place in the fantasy world. The book series features plenty of young-adult adventure and romance to suite MTV’s target demographic. Shannara also would be compatible with MTV’s only successful drama series so far, Teen Wolf, which also has supernatural elements. READ MORE »
MTV Nabs Series Adaptation Of ‘Shannara’ Fantasy Novels With Jon Favreau Directing, Al Gough & Miles Millar Writing
2ND UPDATE MONDAY 10 AM: This is a new one — after slamming MTV for Miley Cyrus’ twerking at the Video Music Awards in August, the Parents Television Council today praised the network for censoring Cyrus’ smoking of an apparent marijuana joint at the European Music Awards where she again twerked with a dwarf. “We applaud MTV for taking responsible actions to eliminate the drug use from its U.S. broadcast, and we urge them to make that a uniform policy for all of its programming,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM: The MTV censors have spoken. The EMAs just aired on the East Coast, and the portion of Miley Cyrus‘ acceptance speech where she lights up what looks like a joint has been cut out. In the edited version that aired in the U.S., Cyrus barely says one line before the camera cuts to an ultra wide shot of the audience and comes back to her for an awkward good-bye. (You can watch and compare the unedited and cut versions below. UPDATE: MTV has moved in to remove the clips with Cyrus’ smoking from video sharing sites.) Had MTV opted to leave the smoking stunt by the 20-year-old Cyrus in, the network most certainly would’ve gotten into hot water with watchdogs and parents.
PREVIOUS 3:50 PM: After the headline-grabbing twerking at the MTV VMAs, Miley Cyrus had been billed as the main attraction for today’s MTV EMAs, with MTV’s promos asking “How Wild Will Miley Get At The EMAs?” Her music performance didn’t break new ground in lowbrow/shock entertainment with more dwarf twerking. But her acceptance speech for Best Music Video will likely create headaches for U.S. censors. During the show, Cyrus pulled out a suspicious-looking cigarette that many have identified as a joint and proceeded to light up and smoke on stage. The ceremony was held in Amsterdam where marijuana is sold in coffee shops. But promoting smoking and likely illegal substances to minors who make up a big portion of the MTV audience in the U.S. is sure to stir controversy and strong reaction from advocacy groups. MTV has yet to respond to requests for comment about whether the smoking incident will be aired in the U.S.
Boston Red Sox’s 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz and Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutcheon will executive produce the weekly, 30-episode series slated to debut on MTV2 in April 2014. It’s part of a new multi-year, cross-platform programming partnership jointly announced today by MTV and MLB. Shot in New York City from inside the MLB Fan Cave, a space that mixes baseball with music, pop culture, media, interactive technology and art, the new series will move beyond game analysis, stats and highlights to showcase MLB athletes off the field, in addition to celebrity appearances.
“The MLB Fan Cave has been an enormous success in showcasing the personalities of our star players to young fans and intersecting baseball with pop culture,” said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball. “Being able to partner with MTV on a weekly TV series will give us an opportunity to bring that concept to an even broader audience.”
Olesya Rulin, Justin Martin, Harvey Guillen and Lilan Bowden have been cast in the MTV cyber thriller pilot Eye Candy, about Lindy (Victoria Justice), a reclusive hacker whose blog exposes everything from terrorist plots to suspected killers. She is targeted by a dangerous cyber stalker and teams up with the city’s cyber-crime unit to catch him.
MTV today said it has become the first network to pre-release an entire season of a series exclusively on an app. Viewers can watch all 12 episodes of the new docu-drama Wait ‘Til Next Year via the MTV app — available on iPhone, iPad and Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members in the U.S. — a week before its TV premiere Friday, November 1 at 8 PM ET/PT. Wait ‘Til Next Year follows one season on and off the football field for the Lincoln Park Railsplitters, a team that’s lost 43 consecutive games over the course of a 5-year losing streak. it centers on the players, cheerleaders, parents and fans who are all on a collective mission to do the one thing no one expects them to do: win. This marks the latest experiment by Viacom Music and Logo Group aimed at providing exclusive content within its brand apps. The MTV app saw an 82% increase in install week over week when MTV launched a “flock-to-unlock” initiative tied to its Miley:The Movement documentary in which fans banded together to tweet #UnlockMiley to access two new clips from the docu exclusively through the app. Earlier this week, MTV’s cable cousin VH1 made its biopic, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, exclusively available in the newly launched VH1 app for a week following its televised premiere and encore.
Lisa Sherman, who has run the day-to-day-operations at Logo since its 2005 launch, is leaving the company as the Viacom network will be aligned with MTV. This marks an end of an era for Logo, started by then-president Brian Graden with Sherman as his top lieutenant. She took the reins of the network in 2008 when she was named EVP and general manager. The move to put Logo under the MTV umbrella, reporting to MTV President Stephen Friedman, will likely accelerate the transformation of Logo from a network strictly focused on the LGBT community one that caters to wider audience, which started last year. Over the years, Logo tried different types of programming, including scripted series and a daily talk show, but it always has been best known for its signature unscripted show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Here is the memo about Sherman’s departure sent internally by Van Toffler, President of Viacom Media Networks Music & Logo Group. It is unclear whether the group will drop Logo from its name as the channel gets so closely aligned with MTV.
MTV has ordered two hourlong pilots: family drama Finding Carter, from Emily Silver and Terri Minsky, and cyber thriller Eye Candy, from top horror producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity) and Twilight helmer Catherine Hardwicke. The orders follow recent pilot pickups for comedies Faking It and Happyland, while a Scream series adaptation continues to be on fast-track development.
EXCLUSIVE: Bianca Santos (The Fosters) will lead the cast of MTV‘s comedy pilot Happyland. Also cast in the project, written by Ben Epstein, directed by Lee Toland Krieger and executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, are Zulay Henao (Love Thy Neighbor), Shane Harper (Awkward), Katherine McNamara (Contest) and Cameron Moulene (Raising Hope). Happyland is a soapy teen comedy exploring the underbelly of one of the country’s most popular theme parks and those who work there. It centers on Lucy (Santos), a cynical teen working as a greeter at the park where her single mother (Henao) has played a fairytale princess for 15 years, and explores the realities of growing up and falling in love while living in a make-believe world. Harper will play Ian, the handsome son of the park’s new president, a new hire at the park who is smitten by feisty Lucy.