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MTV Reboots Repeats

MTV is trying to breathe new life into some of its shows.

Spawned by retouched reruns of The Real World and Maui Fever, the effort continues Sunday, April 29, with the network's first “View and Spew” weekend.

During the preceding week, MTV, via mtv.com, will solicit viewer comments and video clips tied to installments of Run's House, Human Giant, Short Circuitz, Adventures in Hollywood, Taquita and Kaui: The Road to Vegas, Real World: Denver, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Living Lahaina and Scarred. The network will then repeat the episodes, interspersed with the new video and commentary, in a four-hour block starting at 2 p.m.

MTV has extended similar tactics to “cram sessions” and “remixes.”

The former takes six or more episodes and melds them into half-hour show format.

“Even if you are a hard-core fan, there's a good chance you may have missed an episode here or there, so we thought it was a good opportunity to recap all the drama within the show and the major tent poles throughout the season,” said MTV Networks vice president of programming Robyn DeMarco. “But it also does serve a dual purpose. If you have new viewers that happen to check it out, they can instantly invest in the show.”

MTV's first cram session, Maui Fever Cram Session, ran from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, bringing viewership growth of 21% among girls 18 to 24 and 13% among women 25 to 34, compared to the average for shows that ran in that time period over the prior four weeks, according to the network.

The next, Real World Cram Session No. 2 is slated for May 5.

With remixes, MTV repeats an episode, supplemented by current video footage. For example, a has-been reality star could comment on their past on-air performance or talk about where his or her career is now.

The network said the nine premieres of My Super Sweet 16 Remix have averaged a 0.75 rating among viewers 12 to 34, up 32% from MTV's total-day average rating in the first quarter of 2007.

Next up: a May 21 director's cut remix of Run's House with remarks from the cast and rapper's family. In June, viewers will get a fresh look at Engaged and Underage.

But updating the old is not the only thing that's new with MTV.

MTV president Christina Norman, speaking at a road show presentation to advertisers in New York last Tuesday, touted up-and-coming programs such as Housebroken, a reality series debuting this summer that features recently-dumped 20-somethings; and The Kentucky Kid, a motorcycle racing series slated for fall based on racer Nicky Hayden. A little further down the road: I Remember Chloe, a scripted live-action microseries, airing in 30 four-minute segments on every MTV screen from linear to mobile to broadband.

These shows join recent offerings Kaya, Taquita and Kaui: The Road to Vegas, Scarred and the exclusive-to-mobile dance show Dances from the Hood. MTV Tr3s officials said the Spanish-language network will also continue MiTRL, the weekly interactive showcase for videos and celebrities targeting a young Latino audience.

On the ad front, MTV plugged new efforts for marketers to break through the clutter. One example: “pod takeovers,” an option allowing a company to buy out an entire commercial-break block.

Norman said another promising outlet is virtual worlds. After experimentation with a virtual Laguna Beach world, MTV took The Hills to the next level, offering fans the opportunity to create an avatar and enter a show-related playground.

“They wanted to live in The Hills, literally,” said Norman. “The 650,000 people who've registered for our virtual world have spent an average of 40 minutes per visit. They drank thousands of cans of virtual Pepsi and they earned points that got them cool Pepsi gear that they proudly flaunted in-world.”

The network has also begun offering more product-integration opportunities on its shows, Officials cited a plug for Doritos in the sketch comedy show Human Giant; The Gap in dance-oriented reality show DanceLife; and EA Sports Xbox360 game “Skate” in reality comedy series Rob & Big.