MTV makes room for Margera

4:00 AM PST 12/14/2006 by Kimberly Nordyke, AP

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MTV on Wednesday unveiled a scheduling strategy that will reshuffle and expand its primetime lineup. In addition, the network has greenlighted two new series, one of which features "Jackass' " Bam Margera and the other centering on wrestling.

Starting in the first quarter, MTV plans to shuffle its primetime lineup by scheduling blocks with shows that have similar themes, expanding its 10 Spot programming into the 9 p.m. hour on two nights and scheduling returning series on new nights.

In addition, the two new series also will be part of the rejiggered lineup. The first one, "Bam's Unholy Union," features skateboard pro Margera as he prepares to get married; MTV describes the second show, "Wrestling Society X," as "the greatest, dirtiest and most dangerous sports entertainment program that throws out the glam of wrestling." Both shows are set to debut in January.

As for the new schedule, Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo, said the new strategy is a result of programming successes as well as having a wealth of quality shows available to program.

"We had the 10 Spot, airing originals at 10, but over the years, we've been blessed to add more and more hit franchises to our roster," Graden said. "We'll have as many as 20 active series in the first half of the year, so we're ready to move into two-hour primetime blocks. … It's an evolution born of having a lot of product that can compete in primetime."

Graden noted that the two-hour blocks are being programmed around themes.

"There's audiences forming online nowadays around what their mutual passions are — we should be doing the same thing," he said.

Along those lines, MTV has scheduled Monday nights with "coming-of-age" shows where people are facing a new chapter in their lives. Series airing Monday nights from 9-11 p.m. will be "My Super Sweet 16" (debuting Jan. 15), new show "Engaged & Underage" (Jan. 22), the second season of "The Hills" (Jan. 15) and Jennifer Lopez's new show "DanceLife" (Jan. 15).

Tuesday nights feature shows that are defined by "adventure, adrenaline and action," Graden said. The new Tuesday schedule kicks off from 9-11 p.m. Jan. 30 with "Road Rules," the debut of "Bam's Unholy Union," the second season of "Two-A-Days" and the premiere of "Wrestling Society X."

"Real World" will remain at 10 p.m. Wednesdays, followed by "twentyfourseven." New series "Adventures in Hollyhood" will take over the 10:30 p.m. slot starting Jan. 31.

"Juvies" will air at 10 p.m. Thursdays starting Feb. 8, while new series "I'm From Rolling Stone" will air at 10 p.m. Sundays starting Jan. 7.

As for the newly greenlighted series, both "bring an engaging, high-energy sensibility that we are excited to showcase to our viewers, especially embracing our young male audience," said Lois Curren, executive vp MTV series entertainment and programming.

For "Bam's Unholy Union," Terry Hardy, Michael Bloom and Joe Devito are executive producers for Sonar Entertainment. Margera, who also starred in MTV's "Viva La Bam," also is executive producing.

"Wrestling Society X" is produced by Big Vision Entertainment in conjunction with MTV. Houston Curtis is creator and executive producer. Sam Korkis is also executive producer.
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