MTV hires head of scripted development

David Janollari to fill newly created role

After a couple of months of negotiations, David Janollari has closed a deal to join MTV as executive vp scripted development.

In the newly created position, Janollari will oversee the cable network's scripted efforts -- developing comedy and drama series as well as movies that would serve as backdoor pilots.

Based in Santa Monica, he will report to MTV president of programming Tony DiSanto.

The hire is part of MTV's push in the scripted area.

In the past several months, the network greenlighted the comedy series "Hard Times" and a pilot presentation for a "Teen Wolf" remake and put in development several scripted projects, including a U.S. version of the British teen series "Skins."

The efforts are going to be ramped up this year under Janollari, said DiSanto, noting that the plan is to greenlight six to eight scripted pilots this year and launch two to four scripted series, with those numbers expected to go up each year.

"This is not a move away from reality programming; it's about getting a balanced, diverse slate," DiSanto said.

MTV, which has been going through a ratings slump while undergoing a brand reinvention, recently found ratings traction with the unscripted hits "16 and Pregnant" and its spinoff, "Teen Mom," as well as "Jersey Shore."

"We're turning a corner, and I'm super-bullish for 2010," DiSanto said.

Janollari will work with MTV's team of senior programming executives, including senior vp series development Liz Gateley, who will continue to shepherd series development with a focus on unscripted fare.

Janollari knows well MTV's target 12-34 demo. He catered to that demographic during his stint as president of entertainment at WB Network, where he oversaw the development and launch of "Supernatural" and "Beauty and the Geek."

He also was partnered with Bob Greenblatt, entertainment president at Showtime. Their company, the Greenblatt Janollari Studio, was behind such series as "Six Feet Under" and "The Hughleys."

During his six-year tenure at Warner Bros. TV, where he rose to executive vp creative affairs, Janollari was a key player in bringing "Friends" creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane to the studio.

Janollari's executive resume also includes a gig in comedy development at Fox.