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MTV shuffles executive deck

Curren cutting back on responsibilities

A shakeup in the exec suite at MTV took the industry and net staffers by surprise Friday.

Just two months after being promoted, MTV prexy of entertainment and programming Lois Curren will be cutting back on her responsibilities.

The exec will oversee three production projects in which she is closely involved — “Room 401,” biker reality series “The Kentucky Kid” and a Menudo competition series — while also overseeing select development projects.

But she will cede most of her programming duties to Gotham-based Tony DiSanto, her No. 2 and currently exec veep of series development and animation as well as programming chief for MTV2.

Much of Curren’s staff will report to DiSanto, who is taking over Curren’s responsibilities permanently.

A spokesman declined to comment on whether the move would require a shifting of staff between coasts; the new structure creates a system in which the department head is on a different coast than many members of his staff.

DiSanto will now report directly to Brian Graden, prexy of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group and Logo. Graden confirmed the changes Friday.

No titles will change, and Curren will continue receiving her salary and keep her office in the net’s Santa Monica offices.

But Curren’s contract expires at the end of the year, and the new move opens up the possibility that it won’t be renewed.

A spokesman said Curren’s shift was made for personal reasons and was unrelated to performance; that she retained several areas of responsibility suggests that the net was not making a wholesale revamp.

Just two months ago, Graden announced Curren’s promotion with much fanfare, noting an ambitious slate that includes the Tony Krantz-produced scripted drama “Kaya.”

Given how little time Curren has had in the role — and how little time many series on the slate have had to find an audience — the news was indeed unlikely to be performance-related, though the news will no doubt feed speculation that sagging ratings for MTV’s original series bore on the decision.

Whatever the reasons, the effect on programming could be significant. DiSanto, who is known for some bold experiments, could make significant changes to the slate.

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