MTV not yet over 'The Hills'
EmptyAlthough Lauren Conrad has had her fill of "The Hills," MTV is extending the series' run with an additional clutch of episodes set to air in the fall.
As part of its upfront announcements to advertisers, MTV said Tuesday that the docusoap will continue without the 23-year-old designer, building a new story line around newlyweds (and Conrad antagonists) Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.
"MTV viewers will find out life in Los Angeles only gets more complicated as friendships, relationships and loyalties are tested like never before as 'The Hills' returns this fall with more episodes of Season 5," MTV said.
Note that's "more episodes of Season 5," not another season per se.
At PaleyFest last week, producers said they were planning to continue shooting footage of the remaining characters beyond the season finale. MTV likely will decide how many episodes will air based on how compelling the resulting footage is.
Along with news of an Conrad-free version of the hit show, MTV unveiled its 2009-10 programming roster, prepping nine new shows and returning four series. The network said its development slate will "continue to reflect a directional shift geared toward the millennial generation, with shows that are aspirational, escapist and optimistic."
Several of the new shows previously were reported, including the fashion reality competition series "Stylist," DJ AM's new intervention series "Gone Too Far" and animated shows "DJ and the Fro" and "Popzilla."
"There's a palpable generational shift in attitudes that's informing a new point of view as we develop content and the brand," said Tony DiSanto, head of programming at MTV. "The change in our audience is reflected in new formats, tonal voices and storytelling cadence. … Just as we've shifted with our audience in the past, we're now embracing a new brand filter —one that inspires us to break boundaries, bust our mold and reinvent."
Other new series include:
In addition to "Hills," MTV is cooking up new seasons of "America's Best Dance Crew," "Run's House" and "Nitro Circus."
MTV is the top-rated ad- supported cable network in total day among viewers 12-24 but has struggled of late in primetime. In April, the network's average nightly delivery fell 12% to 841,000 total viewers, and the 18-34 demo dropped 11% (468,000, good for fourth place).
James Hibberd reported from Los Angeles; Mediaweek senior editor Anthony Crupi reported from New York.