×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MTV Names Sean Atkins New President

Sean Atkins, a digital-media executive from Discovery Communications, has been named the new president of MTV, taking over from the departing Stephen Friedman.

Atkins will report to Doug Herzog,  president of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. MTV’s programming co-heads, 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 directly to Atkins. Atkins will also supervise MTV2 and MTVU.

“Sean is smart, creative, passionate, and remarkably energized about the sea change at hand in our industry,” said Herzog in a prepared statement. “The strength of MTV lies in its ability to constantly reinvent, and Sean’s forward thinking, versatile leadership will ensure our brand and business continue to evolve and deliver for our audience.”

Atkins joins MTV at a critical moment. The network’s ratings, like those of many operated by parent company Viacom, have slumped, and its identity is somewhat undetermined after building a schedule filled with reality programs. MTV has recently begun to invest in higher-quality scripted fare, including a series based on the “Scream” movie franchise and another based on Terry Brooks’ “Shannara” fantasy books. The network has also launched late-night programming featuring comedians.

Atkins had been general manager and executive vice president of digital media and strategy at Discovery Communications, where he supervised  online video strategy and streaming-video networks including Revision3, SourceFed, Discovery News, and TestTube. Atkins was one of the forces behind Discovery’s 2012 acquisition of millennial-focused Revision3, among the first strategic acquisitions of a multi-channel network by a major media and entertainment company.

Atkins joined Discovery Communications from HBO where, as senior vice president of digital media, he
helped  build the platform that ultimately became HBOGo. He also served as head of
programming and development at Yahoo! Entertainment, where he oversaw content development. His resume includes stints working for Warner Brothers and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures.

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile'

    TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile' Debuts Exclusive First Look

    In today’s roundup, “Million Dollar Mile” releases an exclusive clip and CBS announces premiere dates for three shows.  DATES CBS has announced premiere dates for one new series and two returning series. The new action adventure series “Blood and Treasure” will debut with a two-hour episode Tuesday, May 21 at 9 p.m. right after the [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Assessing 'Empire' Options After Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped

    The shocking Jussie Smollett saga took another twist on Tuesday after prosecutors announced they have dropped all charges against the “Empire” star. Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, but now that those counts have all disappeared, studio 20th Century Fox finds itself in a sticky situation as to [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Legal Drama Eclipses the Rest of His Story (Column)

    Like so many other stories these days, the Jussie Smollett legal saga seemed governed not by coherent logic, but by chaos, and, in its absence of narrative, invites any observer to find in it the story they prefer hearing. Smollett, the “Empire” star who had been in legal jeopardy due to allegations of staging a [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • univision-dish blackout

    Univision, Dish Network Reach Carriage Deal After Nine-Month Blackout

    Univision and satcaster Dish Network have reached a carriage agreement after a nine-month blackout that marked one of the longest standoffs between a major programmer and distributor. Univision channels went dark on Dish Network’s satellite and streaming platforms on June 30. The sides were at odds over carriage fees that have become increasingly contentious for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content