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New MTV president Sean Atkins is solidifying his executive team.
The Viacom-owned cable network has tapped Major League Baseball’s longtime CMO Jacqueline Parkes to oversee marketing and has enlisted Lifetime’s Eli Lehrer to head MTV2 as exec vp. Additionally, Viacom veterans Kristin Frank and Erik Flannigan have been tapped for new roles, serving as executive vp strategy, revenue and operations and MTV’s newly created role of executive vp music/events strategy and development, respectively.
“Jacqueline is a bona fide game-changer whose transformational brand leadership and fan engagement bridged pro baseball’s storied past with its innovative future,” Atkins said in a statement. “Her vision and experience will be invaluable as we reinvigorate MTV. Eli is one of the sharpest, most versatile and well-respected creative executives in the business. We’re thrilled to give him a homecoming to Viacom and a great canvas for his talents at MTV2. Kristin is forward-thinking, her command of the media landscape is unrivalled, and she’ll be critical in ensuring that we are building the near-term strength of our business while continually investing in our future. As MTV strengthens its connection to music with new series and events, Erik’s strong creative sensibility, his talent for forging innovative partnerships and his nuanced understanding of how our audience consumes music will lead the way.”
Parkes became the first female CMO in professional sports. In her new role, she will oversee MTV’s marketing efforts on all platforms and help shape the brand as it enters a new era. Parkes will oversee creative and marketing initiatives for MTV, MTV2, MTVU, MTV Live, Digital and MTV News. She joins the company after a 21-year tenure at MLB.
Lehrer will oversee brand vision, voice and the creative pipeline for MTV2. He comes to the cabler from Lifetime, where he served as senior vp and head of nonfiction since 2013. His previous Viacom tenure included managing development at VH1.
Frank will take on a broader role for MTV’s revenue, long-term strategic planning and operational leadership. She will continue to oversee MTV’s Connected Content team, where she helped double traffic to its digital platforms.
Flannigan will oversee development of music programming, events and tentpoles as MTV attempts to bring the music back to its airwaves.
All four will report directly to Atkins. Flannigan also will join MTV’s development team, under recent new addition Michael Klein as exec vp original content.
For MTV, the news comes as the cable network has seen its ratings dwindle in the recent past. Atkins, on the job since September, used MTV’s upfront presentation in April to announce a massive slate of unscripted series and scripted development that puts a focus back on the music.
“We’re clearly bringing music as our muse back to the brand and returning it creatively to what inspires us,” Atkins told The Hollywood Reporter of the slate. “The idea of having music — in terms of what it means to pop culture and that it gives artists a voice and is always resonant to youth and an influencer of culture — has always been a great element of the MTV brand. We’re leaning back into the heritage and resuscitating it and renovating it for today’s generation.”
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