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[04/03/03 - 12:00 AM]
Cable Upfront Presentations: MTV
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- MTV will continue its rapid-fire rollout this summer as the cable network unveiled two new series and a dozen pilots in development to advertisers yesterday as part of its 2003-04 season upfront presentation to advertisers. MTV logged its highest ratings ever in the first quarter of this year, landing five of the top 10 basic cable series for the quarter. The cable network hopes to build on that by continuing to launch new programming every three weeks. "We have to keep up with an audience that has a voracious appetite for culture," MTV entertainment president Brian Graden told reporters. "It's all about speed."

Here's a rundown of the projects that were announced:

NEW ORIGINAL SERIES

THE NEW TOM GREEN TALK SHOW (premieres June 16) -- The one time network mainstay returns to the channel in a new late-night talk show. The series, which premieres June 16 at midnight, will feature Green grilling guests in his trademark offbeat style.

UNTITLED JESSICA SIMPSON/NICK LACHEY PROJECT (premieres in August) -- Newlyweds Simpson and Nick Lachey will have their first year of marriage - as well as both of the latest recording efforts - chronicled by MTV in a new reality series. R. Greg Johnston is producing the series.

NEW SPECIALS/BACKDOOR PILOTS

GIRL MAKES BAND -- Project features a cadre of teenage girls act who act as A&R executives to create a new pop act.

HIGH SCHOOL STORIES: SCANDALS, PRANKS AND CONTROVERSIES (airs April 16) -- The other special set to air during "TRL High School" is this one from MTV News that will investigate high-school pranks, scandals and "sports mishaps." The pilot will focus on a prank in a Florida school involving the release of 80,000 bees on campus.

HOMEWRECKER -- Game-show/reality series in which a group of roommates will plot to force one another out of a group house of which the last one remaining gets to keep the house.

LIFEGUARD -- The lives of several young lifeguards are chronicled in a "Baywatch"-style reality series.

POSSE -- The project will focus on the entourages of pop megastars, following a different set of celebrity hangers-on each week to get a slice of life in "the inner sanctum of fame." Swift River Prods. is producing the project.

ROOMMATES -- A reality/game-show hybrid where a person searches through three bedrooms in an apartment trying to figure out who is their perfect mate. Tony DiSanto and Lisi Harrison are behind the pojrect.

THE SCENE -- The project follows a group of young people following their dreams and trying to gain fame in the same local music scene.

UNTITLED BAM MARGERA PROJECT (airs in August) -- Former "Jackass" cast member Bam Margera will have his masochistic life documented in the backdoor pilot, set to bow in August.

UNTILTED BLINK 182 PROJECT (airs in July) -- A behind-the-scenes documentary/reality special following Orange County pop-punk trio Blink 182 as they make their new album.

UNTITLED PAULA ABDUL PROJECT -- A reality competition featuring the ex-Laker girl-turned-pop act-turned-"American Idol" judge that will chronicle a cheerleading contest pitting top college cheerleaders against one another.

UNTITLED WADE ROBSON PROJECT -- Former 'N Sync choreographer Wade Robson gets his own contest show as well, in which dancers compete for fame and fortune.

WHEN I WAS 17 (airs April 17) -- One of two specials set to air during "TRL High School," this one profiles celebrities waxing nostalgic about pivotal events in their teenage years. Eve, Pharrell from the Neptunes and Sum 41's Deryck will be among those featured in the project, which is being produced by Dave Sirulnick.





  [april 2003]  
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· AMERICAN IDOL (ABC)
· BAYWATCH (SYNDICATION)
· GIRL MAKES BAND (MTV)
· HOMEWRECKER (MTV)
· JACKASS (MTV)
· LIFEGUARD (MTV)
· NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA (MTV)
· POSSE (MTV)
· SCENE, THE (MTV)
· UNTITLED BLINK 182 PROJECT (MTV)
· UNTITLED PAULA ABDUL PROJECT (MTV)
· VIVA LA BAM (MTV)
· WHEN I WAS 17 (MTV)





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