You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MTV President Stephen Friedman To Exit Network

Stephen Friedman, the executive who supervised the MTV era of “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Wolf” and “Teen Mom”  is stepping down as president of the Viacom network, a post he has held since 2008.

The company is expected to unveil the new president of what is arguably its flagship network tomorrow morning.

Friedman, who joined the company in 1998, told staffers in a memo that “My next adventure will be focused full time on giving back, on social impact, and on applying what I’ve learned from MTV about the power of brands and storytelling to create positive change. ” He initially came aboard MTV to create a unit to oversee strategic “pro-social” initiatives, like an anti-discrimination effort called “Fight For Your Rights.”

Friedman had informed the company of his desire to leave in April, according to a memo released Thursday from Doug Herzog, who leads Viacom’s music and entertainment networks. Friedman’s departure is not related to a March restructuring that resulted in the departures of a number of the company’s most senior executives as well as a $785 million charge. according to a person familiar with the network.

But when Van Toffler, the former head of MTV, VH1 and other networks left the company in February to start a career as an independent producer, Friedman saw an opportunity to consider other career possibilities, this person said. Susanne Daniels, another senior MTV  executive, left in July to join YouTube.

In the memo, Herzog praised the executive not only for the programs he launched at MTV, but also for the performance of other networks under his aegis, specifically MTV2 and Logo.

At the same time, MTV has been hit by ratings declines that have drawn investor scrutiny of Viacom and its leadership. Ratings in primetime for viewers between 18 and 49 at MTV were down 23% for the week lasting between September 14 and September 20, according to data from Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger.

During Friedman’s time as president, MTV delved even further into reality programming designed to reflect the cultural values of millennial viewers. Some of the series drew critical brickbats and spurred debate. At the same time, “Teen Mom” got people talking about the issue of teen pregnancy.

“What MTV understood at its inception, a growing part of the world is now actively pursuing,” Friedman said in his memo.  “We’re in the midst of a boom of mission driven companies that are redefining business while tackling some of the biggest social challenges we face.”

More TV

  • Game of Thrones finale

    Six Things We Learned From 'Game of Thrones: The Last Watch' Documentary

    HBO gave fans a long parting look at the making of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night in a two-hour documentary that focused on the Herculean efforts by the small army craft and technical experts who worked on the mammoth fantasy drama. “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” introduced viewers to the leaders of the [...]

  • 'Killing Eve' Season 2 Failed Where

    'Killing Eve' Season 2 Stumbled Where 'Barry' Soared (Column)

    SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the entire second seasons of “Killing Eve” and “Barry.”  I was dead certain that “Killing Eve” and “Barry” — two of my favorite television debuts of 2018 — should have ended after a single season. Both coincidentally starring unstable assassins, the shows were smart, propulsive, and extremely weird [...]

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content