Reality TV: THR's 50 Most Powerful List
“The goal with 16 and Pregnant was to gain awareness of the epidemic through honest storytelling,” says Dolgen, 37. “Teen birth rates have dropped 9 percent, the steepest decline in over 60 years. Our casting pool is shrinking, and that’s a good thing!”
With Jersey Shore under his purview, Linn is used to fielding phone calls at all hours. “Am I being Punk’d by my own network?” recalls Linn, 47, of a 3 a.m. call from Shore executive producer SallyAnn Salsano informing him that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino had been hospitalized after ramming himself into a wall to avoid a fight with a castmember. But Shore continues to deliver, with the recently completed Italy-set season ranking as the No. 1 show on cable in MTV’s core 12-to-34 demographic and a pair of spinoffs set to explore Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s engagement and pregnancy as well as The Situation’s rehab stint.
Also thriving is MTV’s Teen Mom franchise with the greenlighted Teen Mom 3, itself a spinoff of the upcoming fourth cycle of 16 and Pregnant. Linn and Dolgen are now focused on the renewed freshman viral-video series Ridiculousness, the ageless Real World, its spinoff The Challenge and a Punk’d reboot.