MTV changed television forever when it launched in 1981, and now the iconic spaceman is back in the promo announcement for MTV Studios, a new production unit that will focus on revivals of some of the network’s greatest hits as well as a slate of original programming geared towards a growing millennial audience.
Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, told Deadline that the company plans to “open the vault” with a new emphasis on subscription video on demand (SVOD). “MTV has the biggest collection of hit youth franchises that spans more than three decades of content and over 200 titles, part of which have fueled our resurgence,” he said.
The MTV cable channel, which is owned by Viacom, has experienced substantial growth recently, especially in the coveted 18-34 demographic, with viewership up 21 percent over a year ago. The network plans to split its programming between traditional cable broadcasts and SVOD for the younger viewership. “It is a little bit more limiting than it used to be, so the stories that we tell on traditional cable are going to be very different than the stories that we would tell in SVOD,” McCarthy admitted to Variety.
Some of the shows in development include a live-action remake of Aeon Flux produced by Jeff Davis (Teen Wolf) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead), the animated series Daria & Jodie written by Grace Edwards (Inside Amy Schumer), and a return of the Emmy-winning reality series Made.
“As mutual lovers of sci-fi and comic books, Gale and I get together between panels at Comic-Con every year to chat and try to find something to work on,” Davis said about the new venture. “Remembering how cool and stylish the original MTV anime was and knowing how the world always needs more badass female action heroes, it felt like a perfect match for this new age of content. And of course, I’d be working with Gale Anne Hurd, legendary producer of The Terminator and Aliens, two movies that convinced me against better judgment to get into this insane business.”
The network is pitching its slate of programming to streaming providers such as Netflix, Apple, and Hulu, although Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has hinted that there may be a Viacom-branded service in the future. “Things that are in the animation space, things that are in pure music longform, things that are in the teen and high school space — those are the things that we’re going to be looking more in the SVOD space,” McCarthy said. “The traditional amplified and louder versions of unscripted reality, we’re going to continue to focus on that in cable.”
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