MTV Heats Online 'Stew’

MTV is gassing up the original programming offerings for its Overdrive broadband channel.

The network will debut a new episode from its sports reality series Two A Days on Oct. 11, a week before the show runs on the linear channel — part of an overall original programming initiative that will see the network debut several short-form projects under the newly created Stew broadband channel, according to president of entertainment for MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo Brian Graden.

The bonus episode of Two-A-Days, about the on and off the field lives of players from the nationally rated Hoover High (Alabama) football team, will air Oct. 11 on Overdrive immediately after the series’ finale on MTV, according to officials. The series has been a hit, averaging a 1.6 household rating.

As for original Overdrive content, the network said it will debut seven original short-form series under the Stew brand — inspired by MTV’s infamous “Sunday Stew” programming block that has featured such network staples as Jackass and The Andy Milonakis Show.

The development slate will comprise clips, primarily from the music and comedy arenas.

“Consumers use Overdrive in a very short-form way and they use it disproportionately for music and for comedy,” Graden said. “The dynamics of the platform suggest that creating programming that is two or four minutes in length is likely to be more effective than exporting a long-form television narrative show.”

Among the shows that have been greenlighted for the Stew: Videos By Andrew, featuring music video parodies created by New Jersey college student Andrew Mathas; My Tunes, in which a band creates a song and music video based on user-submitted photos; Chloe, a liveaction, teen driven soap; Hello My Name Is, which tells the backstory behind famous artists names like Busta Rhymes; and MTV Smashed, which re-cuts footage from MTV shows.

Graden said MTV’s short-form programming development division is working on several other shows that could find its way to the Stew within the next few months. He added that broadband programming is vital to the network’s future.

“It’s hugely important and it’s in our DNA,” he said. Graden added that MTV got its start with the form through music videos and video shorts like Jackass, which eventually was developed into a regular series and a pair of theatricals.

He added that MTV would be “thrilled” if some of its short-form shows find a home on the linear network.

He also said MTV hopes to launch other video broadband services in the near future. “The Stew channel is a great brand packaging way for us to aggregate short form so people know what it means,” he said. “We’re hoping this will be the first of many broadband channels that we launch.”

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.