MTV Names Michael Klein to EVP Original Content Slot

MTV has once again tapped the digital world for a major executive appointment, naming former Condé Nast digital channels content exec Michael Klein as its executive vice president of original content.

Klein effectively replaces Susanne Daniels, who left MTV last July to take over original content duties at YouTube.

Klein will oversee all original programming, development and creative across MTV and its related brands, said network officials. Klein was most recently executive vice president of programming and content strategy for Condé Nast Digital Channels, where he was responsible for programming strategy, development and production for the company’s millennial-targeted digital channels across unscripted, scripted, animation, documentary and virtual reality.

Klein has also held positions at Sundance Channel, where he was senior vice president of programming and development; at Travel Channel, where he served as senior vice president of content; and at TLC, where he was vice president of program production.

He will report to MTV president Sean Atkins, who joined the network in September after serving as executive vice president of digital media and strategy for Discovery Communications.

“Michael is a proven hitmaker with a strong feel for our audience, a keen eye for talent, and a successful track record of reinventing brands through distinctive, creator-driven content,” said Atkins in a statement.  “His leadership and experience are an excellent fit for MTV in this pivotal moment for the network, as we accelerate a new development slate of music and pop culture-inspired programming.”

Klein will take over a network that for a while has struggled on the ratings front and has been looking for a big franchise hit, although the network has had a strong ratings start to 2016. Heading into the last week of the first quarter, MTV’s primetime ratings were up 11% among total viewers and 16% among adults 18-49 with shows such as freshman series The Shannara Chronicles and veteran shows like Faking It, Catfish: The TV Show and Awkward.

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.