Pasadena, Calif. -- Sister networks MTV: Music Television
and VH1 last week showcased new made-for-TV movies -- a programming arena they both just
entered -- as well as presenting a parade of new series each has in the works.
At the Television Critics Association winter tour here, MTV
opened its session with a campy live performance by a fictional boy band whose rise to
fame is chronicled in 2gether. The telepic, MTV's first, will debut Feb. 22
and air without commercials, newly promoted MTV president of programming Brian Graden
The network's second original movie, Jailbait,
premieres April 16.
On a similar note, VH1 spent most of its TCA session
talking about its original-movie plans for this year. Two of Us, a fictional
depiction of Paul McCartney's visit with John Lennon at the Dakota long after the
Beatles broke up, will debut Feb. 1. Rock legend has it that Lennon turned McCartney away
when he came to see him in Manhattan. Adian Quinn plays McCartney and Jared Harris plays
In talking about VH1's plans, executive vice president
of programming Jeff Gaspin said his network has "become a movie studio."
According to Gaspin, "We premiered our first two films last summer. We've
increased that slate substantially this year, [to] eight to 10 films."
VH1 has a $100 million programming budget this year, Gaspin
said. And with 500 new hours of original programming, its primetime slate will be more
than 90 percent original, he added.
As part of its plans, VH1's Divas Live concert
will return in April with a new twist, according to Gaspin. "We're actually
going to have two concerts," he said. "The divas will take the stage first, and
then the men will get a chance in a concert we're calling 'Men Strike
Back.' Two concerts, one stage, a lot of attitude and a musical battle of the
Gaspin then went on to briefly describe several new shows
VH1 has in the works: Pop-Up Quiz,a game show spinoff of Pop-Up Video;
Behind the Music2, where emerging musical artists will be profiled; and For the
Record, a documentary series on rock events and issues.
MTV will debut three series this month and next. The series
joining MTV's "10 Spot" block, which will be going to five full nights of
programming, are: Diary, a biography series on artists, premiering Feb. 16 at 10:30
p.m.; Senseless Acts of Video, a video stunt show, debuting Jan. 27 at 10:30 p.m.;
and The Lyricist Lounge Show, a hip-hop variety show, premiering Feb. 8 at 10:30
MTV also unveiled its plans to award $1 million to the
caller who, in February, correctly identifies the 1 millionth video the network airs. The
network has calculated that the milestone music video will appear Feb. 26.
Graden -- the programming guru behind MTV's meteoric
ratings rise and its return to programming that revolves around music videos -- was
promoted just last week. He was previously MTV's executive vice president of
With his new title, Graden will actively seek ways to work
with MTV Online and to develop on-air programming that straddles the television and
Internet worlds. He will also help to develop new program ideas for MTV2.
The other crown jewel of the MTV Networks stable,
Nickelodeon, announced its new series plans at the TCA, as well.
The kids' network will debut Double Dare 2000,an updated version of one of Nick's first hits, Jan. 24. The show, which will air
weekdays at 5 p.m., will offer viewers a preview sneak peek Jan. 22, when its debut
episode runs at 9:30 p.m. during Nick's "Snick" block.
Jason Harris will serve as host of the show, which will be
produced at Nickelodeon's Studios in Orlando, Fla. The network ordered 65 half-hour
Nick also has a second original series slated to premiere
March 11, Caitlin's Way, about a troubled Philadelphia teen sent to her
cousin's home in Montana to straighten out. But the half-hour series' regular
time slot will be Sundays at 8 p.m., where it will start airing March 12.
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