MTV goes live with Burnett, Movie Awards

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PASADENA -- Mark Burnett is getting into business with MTV again.

The network said Thursday that the Emmy-winning producer has signed on to executive produce the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, which for the first time ever will air live.

This marks a return to the network for Burnett, who started his career at MTV with "Eco-Challenge" in the mid-1990s.

"I feel like I'm at home with MTV," he said. "I'm a huge MTV fan -- I love the Video Music Awards and the Movie Awards," so the opportunity to exec produce the show was one he couldn't pass up, he said.

MTV president Christina Norman said the new partnership between Burnett and MTV came about after the network approached him to see if he would be interested in exec producing the Movie Awards.

"We were thinking about new names, someone with energy, and Mark was a natural," she said. "He's somebody who makes great television that audiences respond to. We were thrilled when he returned our phone call."

Salli Frattini, who has served as executive producer of the Movie Awards for the past 10 years, will return and work closely with Burnett as well. Burnett and Frattini worked together on "Eco-Challenge."

Burnett and Norman said the decision to go live for the first time in the show's 16-year history was spurred by the desire to make the show -- which features awards in such categories as best kiss, best villain and best comedic performance -- feel more spontaneous.

"It really is the anti-awards show," Burnett said. "Doing it live really lends itself to what MTV stand for -- (things will happen) on the fly, it will be more unscripted, less overly written teleprompter stuff, and it will let the stars have more fun."

But Burnett added that he has no plans to drastically change the show's format.

"It's a brilliant show, and certainly things are sacrosanct," he said. "I'm not coming in to re-invent what is a wonderful franchise. I just want to have fun with it and loosen it up a little bit."

Norman added that interactive, digital elements will continue to be a big part of the show.

"We want to make sure the Movie Awards are an experience beyond the linear screen that has never been done before," she said.

The 16th annual awards show is set to air June 3 from Los Angeles, with the nominees and exact location to be announced in the spring.
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