Channel revamp on fast track with 5 new series

NEW YORK — As part of MTV’s plan to revamp its entire programming lineup by year’s end, the music channel Monday unveiled five new series that will run in the 10 p.m.-1 a.m. timeslot, or what the network refers to as MTV’s 10 Spot.

The premiere of the five new shows is phase three of MTV’s programming realignment. Phase one was to put more than 20 programs into development and run several highly publicized stunts — such as MTV’s recent national search for a new veejay — to raise the channel’s profile. Phase two was to launch a new primetime (8 p.m.-10 p.m.) schedule with programs based around musicvideos and artists. Phase three is to debut new, original longform shows in the 10 Spot.

“The goal is, by the end of the year, we will once again turn over the content of MTV,” said Brian Graden, executive VP of programming for MTV. “We want to lead culture, not follow culture.”

Bios with a twist

“BIOrhythm,” which premieres June 23 at 10:30 p.m., is MTV’s take on shows such as A&E’s “Biography,” but with a major difference: The show contains no narration; the biographies are told entirely with music. Initial episodes will feature Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, Puff Daddy and Sublime’s Brad Nowell.

Graden said that “BIOrhythm” tested higher with focus group audiences than any other show MTV has tested.

“Fanatic,” which premieres June 29 at 11 p.m., continues MTV’s new theme of giving MTV’s viewers more control over the channel. In each show, an MTV camera crew shows up at the door of an MTV music fan and whisks this person to his or her favorite music star and allows the fan to conduct an interview.

“Sifl & Olly,” which begins July 13 at 12:30 a.m., stars two sock puppets who parody popular musicvideos and also do their own songs. The half-hour weekly series was created by Liam Lynch and Matt Crocco, 26-year-old best friends with warped senses of humor.

Pushing the envelope

With both “Celebrity Deathmatch” and “Super Adventure Team,” Graden said the network is “trying to push the envelope and be creatively insane.” “Celebrity Deathmatch,” which debuts Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., is a weekly clay animated series that features no-holds-barred fantasy fights between clay versions of the hottest celebrities from film, TV, music and politics. MTV first introduced the show with a special during half time of January’s Super Bowl. The special, which featured slugfests with Howard Stern vs. Kathie Lee Gifford, Pamela Anderson Lee vs. RuPaul and Hanson vs. the Spice Girls, scored a 4.6 rating and 7 share — huge by MTV’s standards.

“Super Adventure Team,” which premieres in early August in the 10:30 p.m. slot, is somewhere between a homage and a satire of the Saturday-afternoon serials of the ’70s. MTV’s heroes have complicated personal lives that seem to overshadow their missions to save the world and mankind.

Also returning to MTV’s 10 Spot this summer will be new seasons of “Real World,” “Road Rules,” “Cartoon Sushi” and “Daria.”

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