VH1 tunes in original unit

Net channels scripted sector

VH1 is creating a unit devoted to original scripted projects as part of an overall restructuring of its programming department.

Exec VP of programming Michael Hirschorn has pinned senior VP stripes on a trio of execs: Maggie Malina, who will oversee all scripted efforts; Jim Ackerman, who’ll run development and production; and Jeff Olde, who will manage production and programming.

All three execs will report directly to Hirschorn.

Malina comes from MTV, where she was in charge of longform efforts for both the music net and VH1. Hirschorn told Daily Variety that West Coast-based Malina will concentrate solely on creating scripted franchises for the cabler. First up is VH1’s premiere scripted series “So Notorious,” a “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-style laffer starring and exec produced by Tori Spelling, and “Totally Awesome,” a telepic from “Chappelle’s Show” exec producer Neal Brennan.

VH1 has about a dozen scripts in various stages of development, according to Hirschorn, and could possibly launch a second after “Notorious” before the end of the year.

Ackerman will remain based in New York, overseeing music and alternative programming. He currently oversees “Best Week Ever” and “Celebrity Fit Club.” Prior to joining VH1, he produced and developed programs for NBC, Buena Vista, Telepictures, Fox News and HBO.

While at MTV, Malina produced the movie “2gether,” which went on to become an MTV series; the Matthew Shepard biopic “Anatomy of a Hate Crime”; and “MTV’s Hip Hopera: Carmen.” Previously, she was a VP of production for Pacific Western Prods. working with Gale Anne Hurd.

Olde will head up development and production of VH1’s West Coast series. As a consultant for the cabler, he developed its “Celebreality” hits “Flavor of Love,” “Breaking Bonaduce,” “My Fair Brady” and “Strange Love.” He also oversees production of “The Surreal Life.”

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