Upfronts 2016: MTV Turns Up the Volume

MTV will look to attract millennials with a different beat, adding more music-themed programming – including the network’s first live music show in two decades -- to its lineup of scripted and reality fare, the network said prior to its upfront presentation Thursday in New York.

RELATED:MTV Acknowledges Prince's Passing During Upfront

Under the leadership of new president Sean Atkins, MTV will return to its music roots 35 years after it launched as a music video-based network. The network’s 2016-17 programming slate of 14 new series and specials will feature several shows offering a music/pop culture theme, beginning with the series Wonderland, a weekly show that will feature live musical performances along with comedic performances, according to the network.

“We’re on a mission to reignite MTV with everything that makes it one of the world’s most iconic brands  – its soul of music, its love of pop culture, and its unexpected, groundbreaking creative,” said Atkins in a statement. “What we share today is just the beginning, but it’s a strong first step in the journey and shows how aggressively we are moving to energize the extraordinary promise of this great brand.”

Along with Wonderland, the network announced several other new music-themed, series including a yet-untitled competition series from prolific unscripted series producer Mark Burnett and a reboot of its classic music series MTV Unplugged.

The network will also develop new projects with such music celebrities as rapper Pitbull (Miami-based drama 305) and John Legend (hip-hop comedy It’s the Real).

Among other new shows greenlit by MTV are Sweet/Vicious, a dark one-hour dramedy about odd-couple vigilantes avenging sexual assault victims on a college campus; The Outsiders (working title), a docuseries following families living on the fringes of society; Acting Out, a series in which hilarious stand-up routines are reenacted; Mary + Jane, a comedy about enterprising weed dealers navigating L.A. hipster culture; Shinesty (working title), a docuseries on the outrageous upstart millennial fashion brand; MTV’s The Investigation (working title), which follows the legal cases of the wrongfully convicted; Stranded With a Million Bucks, a reality competition series that employs drone cameras; Loosely Exactly Nicole, a scripted comedy starring and adapted from the life of Girl Code alum Nicole Byer; Going Off (working title), a dance docuseries set in the studio of master choreographer Tricia Miranda; and The Almost Impossible Game Show, a new competition format adopted from the hit UK version.

On the social media front, MTV will bring back its classic series Cribs on Snapchat Discover, one of two new series slated for that service. Artists Mac Miller, Austin Mahone and Travis Mills will be among the first celebrities on the reboot, which will feature a tour of a celebrity’s home in each episode, MTV said.

The second Snapchat series, Pants Off, is an 8-episode series on sex and relationships hosted by MTV Braless host Laci Green.

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.