For years, Music Television, a.k.a MTV, has been more "TV" than "M." But now it seems like the best-known cable channel is ready to bring back the music to TV.
Sean Atkins, who became MTV's president last year, has an entire new lineup of programming in the pipeline. Chief among them is a live performance series, a platform MTV hasn't touched in nearly 20 years. Also on the bill are 14 new series that aim to feature music and youth culture. Atkins explains:
“You will see a strengthening of our connection to popular culture, exploring new formats and doing the unexpected. This is the beginning of the journey.”
MTV has experienced many changes over the years as it morphed from being music-centric to featuring reality programs like Jersey Shore, Teen Mom and Catfish. But now the channel needs to come up with a more defined niche following a drop in advertisement by 20 percent last year from 2013. Atkins describe's MTV's new turnaround effort as such:
“The story of a major network sort of having a stumbling block and finding its way back has been written many, many times about almost every network of note, and so that’s the journey MTV is on. It’s not going to be short or easy, but we are coming out loud and proud.”
MTV has also hired a team of young writers and tastemakers who will talk politics and pop culture through stories, podcasts and videos via the retooled MTV News. Another college network program, mtvU, will continue to power content through the MTV News unit.
As for the music side of things, Wonderland is a live show set in "a living, breathing space in Los Angeles," featuring multiple rooms where musical and comedic guests perform. This is a platform for artists to experiment and be noticed.
Also green-lit is a music competition show called Studio 24, in which a famous artist and a mystery talent are paired up to create a song in 24 hours. The music documentary series Year One will feature a breakthrough year in the life of a superstar.
Atkins explains it was monumentally important to reincorporate music into MTV as fans would continually ask to bring that focus back. It is reassuring to hear that channels do in fact take an interest in what viewers are interested in, and it's about time that MTV goes back to its roots and digs into what made it beloved in the first place — the music.