Changes are afoot at MTV. After nearly three years at the cable network, programming president Susanne Daniels is leaving the company.
At the same time, the network is elevating scripted topper Mina Lefevre to executive vice president, overseeing all scripted development and programming — an increasingly large portion of its roster.
Daniels, who came to MTV from Lifetime and, much earlier, The WB, was charged with refocusing the younger-skewing net when she arrived in 2012. The time since has seen her launch such series as Finding Carter, Faking It, Are You The One?, Broke A$$ Game Show and — just a few weeks ago — a small-screen series based on the Scream film franchise.
It’s largely been an uphill battle. MTV has seen double-digit ratings declines for the last two years as more and more of its targeted audience shifts towards digital. Scream, which garnered a quick sophomore renewal from the net, premiered to a so-so 1.5 million viewers in its first live-plus-three day ratings.
?MTV president Stephen K. Friedman informed the staff of the changes in a Wednesday memo, saying Daniels had elected to pursue a new opportunity and praising the exec for her “terrific sense of humor, her warmth and candor, and those wonderful occasions when she accidentally hangs up on a 40-person VC.”
Lefevre, who’s been point on scripted since joining in 2013, now reports directly to Friedman. In addition to her work on Scream and Finding Carter, she also developed the network’s upcoming The Shannara Chronicles — its play for Game of Thrones-esque fantasy with millennials. “MTV is a great place to take risks and create smart, fun projects that tell unique, youthful stories, and I’m excited to take on a greater role as we bring more original series to our audience,” said Lefevre.
Unscripted still occupies the majority of the airtime on MTV and there’ll be no immediate changes there. Reality head and exec vp series development Lauren Dolgen will continue to be lead in that arena. (Dolgen will also report directly to Friedman.)
The shift at MTV comes the same day that sister network VH1 named Chris McCarthy as its new general manager amidst its own ratings struggles and the departure of longtime president Tom Calderone. McCarthy assumes the VH1 gig after holding the same position at MTV2 and Logo. It’s musical chairs at Viacom. These moves follow others in the wake of Doug Herzog assuming leadership as Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president.