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CMT Taps Desai for VP of Scripted

Shaleen Desai has been named VP of scripted programming at CMT, a new role at the cable network. Based in Los Angeles, his duties will include working with the creative community to generate ideas for new programming as well as developing and overseeing all aspects of scripted production. Desai, who comes from Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, will report to Jayson Dinsmore, executive VP of development and programming at CMT.

“Shaleen is equal parts creative and strategist; bringing a diverse pedigree to the brand,” said Dinsmore. “He’s a welcome addition to our growing development team and will play a critical role in positioning CMT as a home for premium scripted programming.”

Desai was executive VP of television at Aggregate, overseeing a first-look deal with Universal Television and selling pilots/series to NBC, FOX and Netflix. 

CMT is increasingly focused on original programs, such as country comedy Still the King. On Jan. 5, CMT debuts the new season of Nashville, which was canceled by ABC, seguing into the premiere of limited-run series Million Dollar Quartet.  

Desai was previously senior VP at Fishbowl Worldwide Media, where he ran the scripted department. He was formerly VP of programming at BBC Worldwide and was one of the founding executives of 20th Century Fox’s cable arm, Fox 21. Earlier, Desai was a producer at Worldwide Pants.