MTV stays tuned with Gallen

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MTV has inked a first-look production deal with Joel Gallen and his company, Tenth Planet Prods., which has produced 12 MTV Movie Awards shows for the channel.

The agreement includes executive producer services in connection with developing, supervising, producing and consulting on MTV-branded programming. Gallen will work closely with MTV senior vp series development Liz Gateley.

Gallen already is working on the upcoming MTV series "Celebrity Rap Superstars," which premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday, with RickMill Prods. The series features celebrities from various disciplines -- including sports, music, film and TV -- learning the art of hip-hop from rappers and competing in a rap showdown.

In addition to producing the MTV Movie Awards from 1995-2006, Gallen directed many of the short films that aired during the awards show.

"Working with the channel for over 15 years, Joel clearly understands the MTV sensibility, and his broad experience in all areas of production are key as we delve into new programming arenas," said Tony DiSanto, executive vp series development and programming at MTV. DiSanto added that "Celebrity Rap Superstars" represents MTV's entrance into "live weekly event programming."

MTV said the deal with Gallen is just one in a string of development announcements expected by its recently restructured programming team, headed by DiSanto.

Gallen's recent credits also include the Comedy Central Roasts with Pamela Anderson, William Shatner (nominated for an Emmy this year) and Flavor Flav. He also produced and directed the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning "America: A Tribute to Heroes" immediately after Sept. 11, 2001.

Gallen also has produced and directed HBO specials starring Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres and directed the feature film "Not Another Teen Movie."
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