MTV President Opens Up About Major Brand Reinvention

The music-themed cable network on Thursday unveiled a massive upfront slate featuring 11 new unscripted series pickups, three scripted entries and development of eight more new works from the likes of Mark Burnett, Drew Barrymore and Pitbull.

To hear new MTV president Sean Atkins tell it, it's the first of a major brand reinvention as the Viacom-owned cable network goes back to its music roots. And it shows: the wide-ranging slate features a rebooted MTV Unplugged, a live weekly music show as well as a music competition series from The Voice's Mark Burnett joining multiple other series that look to help "renovate" the network for today's generation.

Here, Atkins talks with The Hollywood Reporter about putting the music back in MTV, why its reality won't focus more on shows like Teen Mom (though that isn't going anywhere) and the challenges associated with making the cabler a destination again.

What does this big slate say about MTV?

It says a few things, first and foremost that we're clearly bringing music as our muse back to the brand and returning it creatively to what inspires us. The idea of having music — in terms of what it means to pop culture and that it gives artists a voice and is always resonant to youth and an influencer of culture — has always been a great element of the MTV brand. We're leaning back into the heritage and resuscitating it and renovating it for today's generation. That's clear in what we're doing. Out of that, we become much more artists' viewing in our view of the world; we're much like music is with reinvention and showing you the unexpected. We become much more about being a voice of culture like music is and you see that in our slate, which is a great mix of music stuff, stuff that is influenced by pop culture trends and being in the conversation and stuff that is unexpected in breaking formats and showing you new things. You can see in the volume that's coming out, which is even more impressive.

To read the full interview please visit the Hollywood Reporter

Written by Lesley Goldberg

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MTV President Opens Up About Major Brand Reinvention

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