MTV Names Sean Atkins President

MTV Wednesday appointed former Discovery Communications digital executive Sean Atkins as the network’s new president.

Atkins, who replaces former MTV president Stephen Friedman -- who announced his decision to leave the company hours earlier -- will oversee all creative and business operations for the youth-targeted network as well as its sister networks MTV2 and mtvU, said MTV officials. 

Most recently, Atkins served as general manager and executive vice president of digital media and strategy for Discovery, where he was responsible for driving the company’s original online video strategy and networks including Revision3, SourceFed, Discovery News, and TestTube, said MTV.  

Atkins will report to Doug Herzog, President of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. MTV Executive Vice President and Head of Scripted Development Mina Lefevre and Head of Reality Programming and Executive Vice President of Series Development Lauren Dolgen will report directly to Atkins. 

“Sean is smart, creative, passionate, and remarkably energized about the sea change at hand in our industry,” said Herzog in a statement. “The strength of MTV lies in its ability to constantly reinvent, and Sean’s forward-thinking, versatile leadership will ensure our brand and business continue to evolve and deliver for our audience.”

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.