We have the first new drama series commissioned by MTV‘s new programming team under president Susanne Daniels. The network has picked up hourlong pilot Finding Carter to series with a 12-episode order in the kind of success story that inspires young writers. Up-and-coming scribe Emily Silver, a story editor on Bones, originally penned Finding Carter as a writing sample, which was sent to ABC Family and MTV in 2012. When Mina Lefevre moved from ABC Family to MTV to head scripted development in January 2013, she put the project on a fast track. Veteran Terri Minsky (Sex And The City) was brought in as executive producer and, following a quick rewrite, the script landed a pilot order, which has now been followed by a series green light.
The fourth season of MTV‘s Awkward returns with a special one-hour episode at 10 PM on April 15. Season 4 picks up with even more complications for Jenna as senior, including more boy trouble, drama with her friends, a new girl in town who has eyes for Matty and even some cat fishing. New coming-of-age comedy series Faking It from Carter Covington premieres April 22 at 10:30 PM. It’s slated to air globally on MTV’s channels around the world beginning with its U.S. debut on April 22. Each episode of “Faking It” will air across MTV’s international channels beginning in June. New reality series House Of Food debuts at 10 PM on March 31 and will air across MTV’s international channels beginning in May. MTV also announced today at TCA that the second half of Teen Wolf season three returned as Monday’s No. 1 original cable series. The most watched telecast in the series’ history, the episode drew in a record 2.43 million total viewers.
MTV2 unveiled its 2014 slate today with new series Jobs That Don’t Suck slated for an April premiere following the return of Guy Code. MTV2′s highest-rated series ever, Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out,” will return with an all-new season this summer. In addition, Ain’t That America With Lil Duval and Charlamagne And Friends will kick off their new seasons on January 15. Click over for MTV2′s 2014 slate with descriptions:
The midseason premiere drew a series-record 2.43M viewers Monday night. Teen Wolf, from creator/exec producer Jeff Davis and starring Tyler Posey, also pulled a 2.3 rating among ages 12-34, tying the Season 3 premiere’s record. The episode also hit series highs among teens (4.3 rating) and female teens (6.3). Afterward, MTV premiered Wolf Watch, a half-hour talker hosted by Teen Wolf‘s Jill Wagner, which drew a 1.4 in the demo.
Global Showbiz Briefs: U.S. Filmmakers Support Iceland Film Biz; MTV Has ‘Ex On The Beach’ For UK; More
U.S. Filmmakers Lend Support To Iceland’s Film Industry
In early November, Iceland’s government announced plans to cut funding to the Icelandic Film Centre by about 40%. The news was met with upset within the industry, especially given that film production turnover has grown 248% since 2010, according to industry reports. That was driven by a number of Hollywood pics that shot locally including Oblivion, Prometheus and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and HBO’s Games Of Thrones. Film trade orgs have said the effect of the cuts would hurt the local economy and result in 200 job losses. The country’s film bodies have now received a statement of support signed by filmmakers including Clint Eastwood, Darren Aronofsky and Terrence Malick. “We, the undersigned, have had the great pleasure of working on one or more film projects in Iceland,” the statement reads. “In our view, the Icelandic film professionals we’ve worked with are of the highest standard. The expertise that they bring to the table – not only as filmmakers but as invaluable advisors on Icelandic practices, customs and locations – has brought immeasurable benefits to the work that we do. We stand with them, and with the entire film community in Iceland, in their efforts to maintain the current levels of government support for filmmaking, and thus we urge the Icelandic government to reconsider their current plans to cut the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund.”
MTV Preps ‘Ex On The Beach’ For Spring UK Bow
MTV has commissioned reality series Ex On The Beach, which is set to premiere in the UK in the spring. It then will roll out across MTV’s international network, excluding the U.S. The series is produced for MTV UK by Whizz Kid Entertainment and was shot on location in southern Europe. It sees eight single men and women invited to enjoy a luxury vacation in the belief they are being set up for a holiday romance. Instead, as MTV cameras watch, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends of cast members arrive unexpectedly. Each ex will have a different motive for appearing, from winning their partner back to exacting revenge after a breakup. Ex On The Beach is exec produced by Steve Regan, Lisa Chapman and Suzanne Readwin.
EXCLUSIVE: MTV and the network’s SVP scripted programming Justin Levy have parted ways. The decision was mutual and not unexpected given all the changes at MTV over the past few years. Levy joined the network in 2008. Two years later, David Janollari came over as head of scripted. When Janollari was elevated two years later, Levy and Clay Spencer, who had been brought in by Janollari, were made co-heads of scripted and upped to SVP in August 2012. Three months later, Susanne Daniels replaced Janollari and Spencer exited. Levy flew solo on the scripted side for a couple of months until Daniels brought in Mina Lefevre as SVP and head of scripted programming. During his tenure at MTV, Levy has been closely involved in the network’s most successful scripted franchises. He championed MTV’s breakout comedy Awkward and also played an integral part in the development and production of the other successful MTV series, Teen Wolf. Levy comes from a producing background, having joined MTV from Peter Berg’s company Film 44, where he oversaw development and produced Friday Night Lights, among other series.
The 20th annual SAG Awards were unveiled this morning, but you’ll have to wait until January 18 to find out which films win what. Or, you could wait just minutes after the SAG noms were announced, when public service-minded MTV cut to the chase, naming The Best Movie of 2013. According to the experts at MTV, the No. 1 Best Movie of 2013 is:
MTV’s picks are pragmatic, based on “buzz and consideration of the Awards Season horse races” as well as box office success — oh yeah, and “overall quality.” Gravity was not on SAG’s best-ensemble list this morning (though Sandra Bullock was, for female actress in a leading role). But MTV didn’t stop there — it named the Top 10 Best Movies of 2013:
MTV Nabs Series Adaptation Of ‘Shannara’ Fantasy Novels With Jon Favreau Directing, Al Gough & Miles Millar Writing
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.
Season 4 of MTV‘s flagship comedy Awkward has not even started production yet but the network has already ordered 10 more episodes, bringing the fourth season of the show to 20 episodes. This marks the first season of Awkward without creator/executive producer/showrunner Lauren Iungerich, who left the series when it wrapped production on Season 3 at the end of June. She was succeeded by Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler as new showrunners. It was likely their outlines for Season 4 combined with the strong ratings performance of Awkward’s Season 3, which is airing its second portion, that prompted MTV to give the early vote of confidence. There is no premiere date for Season 4 set yet.
MTV will pre-release the first episode of its docu-series Generation Cryo on the MTV app tonight — a week before its on-air unveiling. The first episode of the series, following 17-year-old Breeanna, who discovers she has 15 half brothers and sisters during her search for her biological father, will be available on the app 12 AM ET; it premieres on the cable network Monday, November 25 at 10 PM ET/PT.
This marks the latest in a line of recent experiments by Viacom Music and Logo Group, providing access to exclusive content within its brand apps. Recently, MTV became the first network to pre-release an entire season of a series, Wait ‘Til Next Year, in its app prior to premiere on television. Viacom noted that, during the pre-release, the show helped drive the app’s biggest streaming week to date per person, and increased downloads 47% week-over-week. Additionally, the series’ television premiere drew an 8% uptick in the teen demo.
When fans tweeted #UnlockMiley to access two new clips for the Miley: The Movement, MTV app installs increased more than 80% week over week.
Following the television premiere of CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, VH1 placed the film exclusively in the VH1 app for a week and generated 1.4 million streams of the film and other TLC content.
Robyn DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Programming and Content Strategy for MTV, explained the strategy: “Our audiences are living on these devices and …
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.
Nico Tortorella, coming off Fox’s The Following, is set to co-star opposite Victoria Justice in the MTV cyber thriller pilot Eye Candy, about Lindy (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. Tortorella, repped by Gersh, KLWGN and Howard Fishman, will play Tommy, the cyber-crime unit’s formidable and flirtatious head whose fascination with Lindy may be more than professional. Catherine Hardwicke is directing/executive producing.
Yaani King (Mad Men) is set as a regular in Lifetime’s backdoor pilot Deliverance Creek from Nicholas Sparks Prods and Warner Horizon. It centers on Belle (Lauren Ambrose), who attempts to defend her family’s land by any means necessary and is pushed into becoming an outlaw by the corrupt bank that runs their town. Kang, repped by Pantheon and managed by Marshak/Zachary, will play Kessiah “Kessie” Washington, a quick-witted plantation slave who forges her freedom papers and sets out for Deliverance Creek with a desperate plan to save her family from slavery.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: MTV has picked up both of its comedy pilots, Happyland and Faking It, to series with eight-episode orders. These were the first MTV scripted pilots greenlighted by the network’s new regime of president Susanne Daniels and and head of scripted Mina Lefevre. Happyland, written by Ben Epstein and executive produced by Storyline’s Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, is described as a soapy teen comedy which explores the underbelly of one of the country’s most popular theme parks and those who work there. The pilot, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, starred Bianca Santos, Zulay Henao, Shane Harper, Katherine McNamara, Cameron Moulene, Brady Smith and Ryan Rottman. Faking It, from 10 Things I Hate About You developer Carter Covington, revolves around two best friends who will do almost anything to fit in and be popular in high school — including pretending to be something they are not. The cast of the pilot, directed by Jamie Travis, included Bailey Buntain, Gregg Sulkin, Katie Stevens, Michael Willett, Rita Volk. On the drama side, MTV has pilots Eye Candy and Finding Carter, now casting.
MTV today announced that it will premiere its docu-series Generation Cryo on Monday, November 25 at 10 PM. Generation Cryo follows a teenaged girl’s effort to locate all of her half-siblings, fathered by anonymous sperm donor #1096 — as well as and her anonymous dad, with the help of Donor Sibling Registry, a website that says it’s dedicated to connecting sperm donor families. In the six-episode docu, Breeanna discovers she has at least 15 half-siblings, and sets out to connect with them and figure out which ones want to search for their father. MTV first announced Generation Cryo last spring; it was part the first programming slate for Susanne Daniels, who was named head of programming at the network in November, replacing David Janollari.
MTV‘s Teen Wolf will howl again for a fourth season, the network announced today at NY Comic-Con. That’s no surprise as werewolf series just enjoyed its most-watched season to date, with the second half of Season 3 set to premiere on January 6. To accompany its fourth season MTV will also debut Wolf Watch, a new Teen Wolf-centric talk show to air after each episode a la AMC‘s Talking Bad and Talking Dead. Cast member Jill Wagner will host the chat show joined by fellow stars and celebrity fans.
MTV, once home of TRL, is bringing music back to its afternoon lineup, this time in the form of a singing competition series. The network has picked up Copycat, a half-hour afternoon strip from The Bachelor creator/executive producer Mike Fleiss. It features contestants battling it out onstage, trying to sound like their favorite recording artists. The studio audience will vote on each performance, with one winner getting a cash prize and the title of “Ultimate Copycat”. Warner Horizon TV and Fleiss’ studio-based Next Entertainment are producing, with Fleiss and Brendon Carter exec producing and Matt Laesch co-exec producing. MTV’s next afternoon series, dating show The Hook Up, premieres on Monday.
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.