MTV plays with 'Dolls' in new slate
Wilmer Valderrama, 50 Cent in for seriesMTV has a slew of projects in the works for summer and fall, including a scripted comedy from Wilmer Valderrama.
Also on the slate, which includes a total of nine projects either greenlighted to series or in development, are a search for the next female singing superstar, a reality competition featuring 50 Cent and a rock-themed "Making the Band" spinoff.
Asked what common thread runs through the slate, MTV programming head Tony DiSanto said: "I think the key thing is that each one is unique, and that's what defines the MTV brand: the diversity and creativity and mix of projects. That's what Liz Gateley and her series development team have put together."
DiSanto pointed out that executives are looking for a range of scripted and unscripted programming. He said Valderrama's scripted comedy, dubbed "Baby Dolls," came about from a long-standing relationship between MTV and Valderrama, who created, exec produced and hosted the network's trash-talking competition "Yo Momma."
"Dolls," told in faux-documentary style, centers on celebrity worship as told through the eyes of a naive and jaded personal assistant to a young actress.
"Wilmer has done a great job for us in front of and behind the camera, and he came to Liz with a unique scripted idea into which he could provide unique insight," DiSanto said.
Valderrama is repped by UTA, Rigberg Entertainment and attorney Michael Gendler.
"Teen Dream," meanwhile, centers on the search for America's next female superstar with a twist: Their moms will be their managers/mentors and ultimately might be their downfall in the competition. The concept is based on a Telemundo format.
The "Band" spinoff, "Making the Rock Band," will feature Diddy continuing his search for the next big music group -- this time in the rock arena. "He's going outside his comfort zone," DiSanto said.
The untitled 50 Cent series falls in line with MTV's revamped programming strategy, launched a year ago, that includes fast-tracking projects the network is high on in order to get them to air sooner. The strategy also includes expanding certain shows to an hourlong format, capitalizing on hits with spinoffs, experimenting with new formats and greenlighting projects with big-name talent attached.
"Our main goal is to always pull the rug out," DiSanto said. "If something is working great, we don't want to do it again, we want to do something new. Our viewers expect us to keep evolving, genre-busting and taking chances.
A roundup of MTV's new projects follows:
Untitled 50 Cent project
Production team: Michael Hirschorn, Stella Stolper and Chris Choun for Ish Entertainment; 50 Cent; Chris Lighty for Violator Management
Synopsis: Elimination reality show following 16 contestants as they compete to learn and master the skills that took 50 Cent from the streets to corporate America, having parlayed his musical skills into a merchandising and branding empire worth more than nine figures; 50 will whittle down the contestants each week, with one winning a full scholarship to an undergraduate or graduate business program.
Untitled T.I. Project
-- Michael Hirschorn and Stella Stolper for Ish Entertainment; Jason Geter for Grand Hustle Entertainment; Brian Sher for Category 5 Entertainment
-- Documentary series will follow rapper T.I. as he spends a year on probation before going to jail.
-- Jordan Schur of Suretone Entertainment; George Verschoor of Hoosick Falls Prods.; Mike Powers
-- As their first single, "Buzzin,' " starts to climb the charts, musical artist Shwayze, his best friend/producer/musical partner Cisco Adler and their friend/tour manager Warren get into comic misadventures as they try to navigate their way to stardom in the music industry.
-- Reality series that shows what happens when kids take things too far and end up breaking the law.
Making the Rock Band
Building on MTV's "Making the Band," Diddy steps out of his comfort zone and into the rock arena as he looks to form the next big rock 'n' roll band; he is expected to work with a roster of "top" artists and producers in the show
-- Chris Peterson & Bryan Moore; Wilmer Valderrama; Ross Breitenbach and Danny Villa (co-executive producers)
-- Half-hour scripted comedy series set in the pop-culture phenomenon of celebrity worship as told through the eyes of a naive and jaded personal assistant to a young actress; told in faux-documentary style.
-- Ken Mok of 10x10 Entertainment; Don Weiner
-- Reality competition series to find America's next female superstar with a twist: Their moms will be their managers, mentors and ultimately might be their downfall in the competition; based on a format MTV bought from Telemundo.
-- Austin & Julie Reading of Liquid Theory; Mike Powers
-- Reality comedy centers on William Spencer, one of skate boarding's rising stars, and his group of crazy friends who live to make the next stunt crazier than the next; if only they could pay the rent.
16 and Pregnant
-- Following the success of "Juno" and the tabloid coverage of Jamie Lynn Spears, MTV will explore the touching and scary phenomenon of young girls who are faced with expecting and how the choices they make effect their relationships, dating life and friendships.