Exec to o'see content on cabler's roster of outlets

LAS VEGAS — MTV has upped Brian Graden from programming prexy for MTV and MTV2 to prexy of entertainment, putting him in charge of creative content for the Viacom franchise across all platforms.

The promotion to the newly created post is part of a new multiyear deal for the exec, who joined MTV nearly five years ago as exec VP of programming. He will oversee content on the company’s expanding roster of outlets, including flagship basic cable network MTV, sister network MTV2 and mtv.com.

He’ll also usher content on emerging platforms, such as burgeoning digital channels, content on MTV radio channels and possible wireless content. MTV programming areas that continue reporting to Graden include music, news and specials, production, talent and artist relations, animation, scheduling, and series development.

He reports to Van Toffler, prexy of MTV and MTV2, and is based in Santa Monica. He works from both MTV’s New York and Santa Monica headquarters.

No replacement

Toffler said he has no plans to replace Graden’s programming prexy post, as the new gig reps an expansion of the exec’s role.

“Brian has given us some twisted, wonderful creative ideas and brought a great team of people in music, news, development, animation and scheduling that have helped lead MTV to some record results. …Without much of a stretch, I would say Brian is the best, if not one of the best, programmers in television and great at inspiring a creative team to deliver compelling programming,” Toffler told Daily Variety. “(The move) represents the evolution of MTV, MTV2 and mtv.com and how they can intersect greater than they are now. He’ll work on convergent, cutting-edge programming and developing content for each screen.”

“The goal is to make every platform vibrant,” Graden told Daily Variety. “The biggest challenge is going to be implementing our 360 initiative with content, which means if we get an idea, we want to be able to express it over a multitude of platforms.”

Graden used New Year’s Eve as an example of the “360” approach. MTV can air a New Year’s special, while MTV2 can provide the soundtrack to viewers’ parties with a DJ spec, and special countdowns and lists can be provided on mtv.com to provide an overall MTV New Year’s experience.

Core aud held

Since joining MTV, Graden has been credited with helping MTV retain the top-rated position with its core aud, 12- to 24-year-olds. For the past 19 consecutive quarters, MTV has been the No. 1 cable network among this demographic (4th quarter, ’01). Prior to coming to MTV, Graden exec produced Comedy Central’s “South Park.” Before that, he ran Foxlab.

Meanwhile in MTV news, MTV2 is kicking off a new concert series Feb. 2 in Los Angeles with the Strokes called MTV2’s $2 Bill Concert series. The network will present concerts with a different band in a different city across the country on the second of each month, charging concert goers $2 to attend. MTV2 will airing the shows live in celebration of the “Year of 2.”

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