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At MTV upfront, a small slate and big personalities

April 26, 2013|By Steven Zeitchik
  • The star of MTV's 'The Show With Vinny,' Vinny Guadagnino
The star of MTV's 'The Show With Vinny,' Vinny Guadagnino (MTV )

NEW YORK -- Popularity on social media platforms and an increase of MTV2’s male viewers were among the virtues touted by MTV at its upfront presentation Thursday, amid a smaller-than-usual development slate and some rocky recent ratings.

The network is looking for a rebound this year after 2012 numbers were down -- prime-time viewership among adults 18-34, for instance, dropped 27% compared with the previous year.

The network also announced several new projects for MTV: a pilot greenlight for a series based on the “Scream” franchise as well as new series such as “Generation Cryo” and “Nurse Nation.”

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Clips for “Generation Cryo” showed the teenage daughter of a lesbian couple seeking out her biological father and other children from the same sperm donor. Video for “Nurse Nation,” about the professional and personal drama of a group of traveling nurses, evoked the “Real World” by way of “ER.”

There is no material for “Scream,” which is seeking writers. Horror maestro Wes Craven, who directed all four movies in the franchise, will direct the pilot. Even with the returning "Teen Wolf," the network is hungry for another genre hit as its core demographic continues to soak up all things vampire and werewolf.

As previously reported by Show Tracker, MTV also announced spinoffs to its MTV franchise “Guy Code,” with a dating show called “The Hook-Up” and a mock-trial series titled “Guy Court” set for later this year.

Returning nonscripted series, the network said, include a third season for “Snooki and JWOWW,” who were not at the upfront, and a renewal for MTV2's “Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family.”

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To stir up interest in upcoming programming to advertisers and the media, the network brought out stars of current hits “Awkward,” "Catfish" and “Guy Code” as well as those of several new series.

In promoting, for instance, its upcoming  “The Show With Vinny,” which features former “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino conducting celebrity interviews at his Staten Island home, the bowtie-clad Guadagnino appeared with his colorful mother and his uncle, who quipped that all the glitter Kesha made him put on during a taping was still lodged in various orifices.

The event took a more serious turn when Snoop Lion walked on to the stage to tout his No Guns Allowed initiative, which MTV is supporting. "I've always been known for making party music. But we all know there's no party without peace,” he said.

The smaller development slate is the result of a number of returning series as well as the arrival of programming chief Susanne Daniels in late 2012. Well regarded for her scripted-show acumen, Daniels is still relatively early in her first development cycle.

The evening opened with a performance from Scottish singer Emeli Sande and closed with two numbers form Selena Gomez. The “Spring Breakers” star performed her new song “Come and Get It” (this time without her controversial bindi from the MTV Movie Awards) as well as her hit “Love You Like a Love Song,” appearing to lip-sync on at least the second number.

The event was hosted by MTV personality Sway and featured recurring appearances by the wisecracking Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer of the MTV series "Nikki & Sara Live." When they came on stage after the Gomez performance, Schaefer quipped that Gomez was now “contractually obligated” to appear on their show because they’d shared the stage at the upfront.


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