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LONDON — Viacom’s MTV UK is looking for the launch of U.S. hit reality show Catfish and the return of British favorites to start off 2013 with strong ratings.
Its boss said late Wednesday that after hitting its highest viewership figures in five years in 2012, the network is looking for a record performance in 2013.
“I am really excited about the great content MTV UK has coming up,” said Kerry Taylor, director of MTV UK, at an evening event here to promote the channel’s spring programming lineup. “This year looks set to be MTV UK’s biggest yet with exciting new U.S. and local commissions and brilliant music events and programming.”
Speaking at the top-floor bar of the ME London Hotel, she called 2012 “an amazing year” for the British MTV channel, which reached record ratings for homegrown Jersey Shore-type reality hits Geordie Shore and The Valleys. They became the two highest-rated shows in MTV UK history, with more than 1 million for some episodes of the former.
After a loud round of cheers from the Geordie Shore castmembers in attendance, Taylor said that the Valleys team was not present because the show is currently in production. But she quipped that this was likely good, because if the casts from both hit shows were in the same room, “I think it would be carnage.”
Catfish, which is a ratings hit in the U.S., will help kick off the new year’s programming lineup with its launch here next week. MTV UK on Wednesday called it “one of the most eagerly anticipated shows of 2013.” Catfish stars Nev Schulman and Max Joseph told THR that they were excited about the U.K. launch and were hoping to bring the show to additional international markets.
Other U.S. shows on the MTV UK spring schedule include Underemployed, LA Complex and Washington Heights.
Meanwhile, new commission Young and Married will put the spotlight on newlyweds and add to the experience of such franchises as Teen Mom.
U.K. success Awkward will also return for a third season, as will the Best of the Best UK MCs, according to MTV UK. Established local reality hits Geordie Shore and The Valleys will also be back this year for seasons five and two, respectively, MTV UK said.
And it said that Geordie Shore is going global. “Based on the unprecedented multiseason success in the U.K. and initial launches on MTV in Australia, Southern Europe and mtv.com in the U.S., MTV is extending Geordie Shore to all the network’s regions” starting this month, it said. More than 20 MTV channels are set to premiere the show in 2013 across Asia, Latin America and Northern Europe.
“With all of these great new programs hitting your screens this year, 2013 will become MTV UK’s biggest and best yet,” the network predicted.
Wednesday night’s MTV event also included a musical performance by Gabrielle Aplin and a Q&A with Joseph and Schulman.
Asked for their worst example of a “catfish,” or person pretending to be someone else, Joseph told the crowd: “We had one catfish who for a year and a half pretended to be a guy to get revenge on the girl who had dated her boyfriend before her.”
Schulman said he felt the show had already started to encourage an important debate about social media etiquette. “Getting people talking about the way they use social media is important,” he said. “Maybe it can help create a social code.”
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