Reality skeins set in at MTV

Among 15-20 new programs to be launched

MTV has made series orders for four new reality skeins to debut this summer, including a show called “Flipped” from “Scared Straight” producer Arnold Shapiro.

During each episode of “Flipped,” which launches July 30, people will give up their regular lives for 24 hours in order to walk in someone else’s shoes a la “Trading Places” or “Freaky Friday.”

In addition:

  • Half-hour game strip “Who Knows the Band?,” in which contestants must pick who among a panel before them is truly acquainted with members of a famous band, will preem June 11

  • Reality gamer “Kidnapped,” in which a group of people have to rescue their kidnapped buddy, exec produced by Danny Salles and Rachel Purnell, will launch sometime this summer

  • The preem of “Becoming,” exec produced by Jason Carbone, will shift from May 14 to July 10 (Daily Variety, March 27).

The new skeins are among 15 to 20 new series MTV will launch by the end of the year, the cable net’s programming prexy Brian Graden said.

Myriad projects

MTV also has greenlit a handful of pilots, and a batch of new projects have been put into development with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Stipe and Paula Abdul attached.

The comparatively high number of series launched annually by MTV, where it is not unusual for a series to last little more than a year, stems from the kind of artists MTV attracts, Graden said. It’s also a matter of keeping up with the net’s young target demo.

“We break new talent, then it becomes their time to move on after they grow with us,” added John Miller, MTV senior VP of original series development. “And it keeps things relevant for us, which is important considering we go through so many generational changes every year as people age.”

These are the pilots MTV has ordered:

  • A bio series from the perspective of fans called “Fanography,” exec produced by Judy Meyers and John Kalish in association with George Schlatter Producers

  • Celeb show “The Dustin and Justin Show,” exec produced by “Road Trip” director Todd Phillips

  • “New Girl,” about a manipulative girl at a New England prep school, from John McLaughlin

  • “Varsity Blues,” based on the MTV film, from “Blues” writer Peter Iliff

  • Surfing skein “Wetsuit,” created by Jim Cooper and Erik Feig

Graden said that no official deadline for decision-making on the pilots is being imposed.

Projects in development include the following:

  • “Bottoms Up,” based on the true story of a family who started a nightclub in their basement, from Coppola and his company Zoetrope

  • “Plus One,” a fictionalized account of R.E.M.’s rise, from Sandy Stern with Stipe producing

  • “Untitled,” starring Abdul as a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader

  • “Rock Chik,” which follows a real-life “Almost Famous”-type rock chick

  • “Music Mogul,” in which teams of music industry wannabes compete for a real gig

  • “Living Dolls,” which brings dream dates to life

  • Amateur homevid contest “Your Video Show”

  • “Tales from the Road,” about the nomadic lifestyle of rock stars.