MTV nears deal to develop 1st pic

MTV is poised to make its first move into theatrical movie production.

According to MTV Networks chairman Tom Freston, the channel is close to a deal with an unnamed major studio to executive produce a full-length feature based on its recent short film “Joe’s Apartment.”

The short is John Payson’s surreal tale of a single guy trying to cope with his cockroach-infested New York home.

Freston, who was attending an event in Perugia, Italy, expects to make an announcement in the next few weeks.

He hopes this will be followed by more movies, also based on characters and ideas originated on MTV or the kids channel Nickelodeon.

“We looked at things like ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘The Addams Family’ and thought there was a business there for us,” he said.

In part, the move into features was prompted by an enormous interest shown by Hollywood in various MTV shows.

Van Toffler, MTV’s senior VP of programming enterprises and business development, said the company received six film offers for the new cartoon series “Beavis and Butt Head” as soon as it was premiered.

The strategy will be to make G-rated films, Freston said, fully financed by Hollywood studios.

MTV parent Viacom will not be investing any money of its own in the productions.

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