MTV programs Curren, adds series

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Lois Curren has been promoted to president of entertainment and programming at MTV, which also has greenlighted six new series, including the scripted show "Kaya" and a "Making the Band" spinoff from Sean "Diddy" Combs.

In her new role, Curren, who was executive vp series entertainment, will oversee all development, production, program planning and scheduling for MTV. During her tenure at the network, Curren has overseen such hits as "The Osbournes," "Punk'd," "Newlyweds" and "Pimp My Ride." She now will oversee all new and returning series, including "Adventures in HollyHood," "Living Lahaina," "Human Giant," "Nick Cannon Presents: Short Circuitz" and newly greenlighted series "Taquita & Kaui," all scheduled to begin airing in the second quarter.

Based in MTV's West Coast offices in Santa Monica, Curren will continue to report to Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo.

"Her track record is undeniable," Graden said. "One of the things that's so amazing about Lois is her extremely consistent creative instincts. MTV's biggest challenge is not to clone itself and do the same thing it did yesterday, but I trust Lois' instincts and feel like the network is in good hands."

Meanwhile, Curren pointed to the diverse range of programming that has just been greenlighted under her leadership, including "Kaya," a single-camera half-hour scripted series that tells the story of a musically gifted young woman who struggles with becoming an overnight sensation. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, present-day moments and occasional flash-forwards. The number of episodes has yet to be determined.

"This is a cultural touchstone for what's going on right now (with some pop stars) and seemed like a great place for us to dip our toes back in that water (of scripted series)," Curren said.

She pointed out that MTV -- which previously has aired scripted series like "Undressed," which ended its three-year run in 2002, and "2gether" from 2000-01 -- "redefined the ethos of reality series" by "doing away with talking heads" and employing the feel of scripted series in such shows as "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" and spinoff "The Hills."

"So scripted seemed to be the next step in telling stories for us, and ('Kaya' is) an amazing fit because it's about the music industry," Curren said, adding that MTV has a handful of other scripted projects in development.

"Kaya," created by Deborah Joy LeVine, is a co-venture between MTV and Protocol Entertainment. Executive producers include Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures Llc., Steve Levitan of Protocol and MTV's Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley.

The other new series include:

  "Taquita & Kaui," an eight-episode series that follows two "Making the Band 3" contestants from who move to Las Vegas to pursue their dreams of stardom. The show, from executive producers Combs along with Perry Dance and Ted Iredell for the Ted & Perry Co., is set to debut in April.

  "The Kentucky Kid," an eight-episode series that follows pro motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden as he wins the 2006 MotoGP World Championship and defends his title in 2007. Greg Johnston, Sam Sokolow and Rob Lobl are the executive producers.

MTV also confirmed that it has given the green light to "Room 401," from Kutcher and Jason Goldberg and their Katalyst Film and TV, which explores how everyday people respond when their normal lives collide with a world of illusions and supernatural experiences, and "Me & Mr. Jones," a documentary-style series that follows the lives of married couple Nas and Kelis as they balance their careers as recording artists with their personal lives. Nas, Kelis and Joel Stillerman are executive producers. Both are eight-episode series.

Also confirmed was "Scarred," a 10-episode series that spotlights the individuals and stories behind some popular user-generated online clips depicting crashes or spills. The show, hosted by Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix, is created by consulting producer Nicole Perry and executive produced by DiSanto and Gateley along with Bob Kusbit from One Louder Prods.

In addition, MTV has picked up additional seasons of "Engaged and Underage," "Exposed" and "Rob & Big."

Graden and Curren added that MTV is expanding its strategy of programming primetime blocks around similar themes to include Wednesdays and Thursdays as well. Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. will be themed around comedy, satire and sketch shows, such as "Circuitz" and "HollyHood," while Wednesday's theme is still being determined but will be more of a "broader power-player night" including series in the "Real World" franchise, Curren said.

Curren joined MTV in 1998, rising through the ranks. Before joining MTV, she developed and produced programming for Columbia TriStar Television and was a development executive at Foxlab.
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