Hip-Hop Will Flavor MTV2 Original Slate

A heavy dose of hip-hop programming is on tap for MTV2, as part of its spring-and-summer slate of originals disclosed last week.

MTV2 general manager David Cohn said that while the 49-million subscriber digital service will offer more music-based, long-form programming in the coming months, it will not follow in the footsteps of progenitor MTV: Music Television and drastically reduce its offerings.

"This is the culmination of MTV2's evolution over the past few years from a free-form, video music jukebox to the biggest and best full-time music network out there," Cohn said. "We're creating different franchises and different destinations that are still based on music videos and that our audience will gravitate to."

New hip-hop shows include Sucker Free Sundays, an eight-hour, Sunday afternoon block devoted to rap and urban music premiering May 11 at noon. Rappers such as 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Ludacris will host each weekly show.

Also on the hip-hop front is the 22 Greatest MCs, bowing later this year, a countdown of the greatest rap and hip-hop artists of all time.

"Our hip-hop programming is a reflection of the music scene today and what we believe the audience wants," Cohn said. "Hip-hop works — we see it in the ratings and it's been very valuable in providing great video and artists who want to be on television and want to work with us."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.