Horror movie marks MTV's drive into scripted shows

Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:19pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - MTV, which made its name as the home of the music video three decades ago, will launch a drive into scripted original programs on Friday that executives hope will mark a new era for the youth-oriented cable channel.

At a time when many TV studios are reducing expensive scripted dramas and comedies, MTV is expanding its horizons beyond its current reality-heavy slate and making original movies and series on a tight budget.

"A big part of our mission as we go forward is to add scripted programing, animation, comedy and long-form movies to the mix," said Tony DiSanto, president of programing at MTV, a unit of Viacom Inc.

"There was the music video era, the 'TRL' (Total Request Live) era, the 'Jackass' era and 'The Hills' era, I think we are now on the cusp of the next defining moment for MTV," DiSanto said.

Friday's premiere of "My Super Psycho Sweet 16", a horror movie inspired by the hit MTV reality series "My Super Sweet 16", is the first of four original movies due to air over the next 12 months. Other programs in the works include a comedy series and a U.S. remake of the British teen drama "Skins".

DiSanto said "My Super Psycho Sweet 16", shot in Atlanta, Georgia to maximize tax credits, "cost us less than two half-hour episodes of 'The Hills'". It went from script to finished production in six months. MTV declined to say how much it was investing in the productions.


The drive for scripted shows is part of MTV's bid to stay fresh in a fickle youth market with a short attention span.   Continued...