MTV named Michael Klein, a veteran of Conde Nast Entertainment, Sundance Channel and TLC, as its new executive vice president of original content, one of the first major executives put in place by Sean Atkins, who was named president of the Viacom-owned outlet last year.
Klein will report directly to Atkins. Mina Lefevre, executive vice president and head of scripted development, and Lauren Dolgen, head of reality programming and executive vice president of series development, will report to Klein. They had previously reported to Atkins.
“Michael is a proven hitmaker with a strong feel for our audience, a keen eye for talent, and a successful track record of reinventing brands through distinctive, creator-driven content,” said Atkins, in a prepared statement. “His leadership and experience are an excellent fit for MTV in this pivotal moment for the network, as we accelerate a new development slate of music and pop culture-inspired programming.”
Viacom is in the midst of trying to boost MTV’s ratings and relevance to a young audience that is more likely to seek out the sort of content they might get from the network from streaming video and mobile devices. Under Atkins, the outlet has already begun to beef up its MTV News unit, in the hopes of generating more content about politics and popular culture that can be placed everywhere from the TV screen to podcasts.
Klein has been involved with programs ranging from “Vanity Fair Confidential” for Investigation Discovery to “Man v. Food” for Travel Channel. He most recently served as executive VP of programming and content strategy, digital channels, at Conde Nast Entertainment. During his time there, he helped produce digital-video series related to the company’s portfolio of magazines, including Glamour’s “Screw You Cancer” and GQ’s “Casualties of the Gridiron.” He helped launch the unit and supervised development of original nonfiction programming including “Vanity Fair “The New Yorker Presents,” and “The Fashion Fund” for Amazon.
Earlier in his career, Klein served as senior VP of programming and development for the Sundance Channel, senior VP of content for Travel Channel, and in several executive roles at Discovery Communications, where he was VP of program production at TLC.