MTV has greenlighted a slate of eight new "aspirational, enterprising and empowering" series for 2009 as part of a push to ramp up the network's original programming.
Among them are spinoffs of "Run's House" and "Rob & Big"; a show from Nick Lachey about performing arts students in Cincinnati; another from Johnny Knoxville starring a professional daredevil; and a series that goes behind the scenes at College¬Humor.com. Also on the slate are a Donald Trump-produced series that will attempt to reform party girls, another exec produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker that's based on the "How's Your News?" short films and a college-set series produced by students.
"These new series reflect Generation 'Why Not?' -- living, working and playing on their own terms, 'adventure capitalists' if you will, pursuing a variety of thrill-seeking, 2.0, express-yourself enterprises," said Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group.
Tony Disanto, MTV's executive vp series development and programming, said the slate marks an "unprecedented volume of new content" for the network, which is launching a two-hour block at 9 p.m. Sundays and adding original content in the 9 p.m. hour Mondays and Thursdays.
The new series:
-- "Nitro Circus," starring freestyle motocross rider Travis Pastrana and his daredevil buddies. Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine (MTV's "Jackass") are exec producing with Pastrana, Jeremy Rawle, Greg Godfrey and Trip Taylor.
-- "The CollegeHumor Show," which takes a look at the "offbeat" workplace of the twentysomething-run Web site College¬Humor.com. Ricky Van Veen, Josh Abramson, Sam Reich and Scott Tomlinson exec produce.
-- "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory," featuring the co-star of MTV's "Rob & Big," who is trying to expand the reach of his skateboarding business with the Fantasy Factory, a 25,000-square-foot industrial complex turned fun house. Dyrdek exec produces with Tremaine, Ruben Fleisher and Shane Nickerson.
-- "College Life," which follows freshman at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The show will be shot by the students themselves.
-- "How's Your News?" which began in 1998 as a series of short films directed by Arthur Bradford featuring cast members with disabilities serving as news reporters who interview people on the street. Stone and Parker ("South Park") later exec produced a feature film following the reporters. The MTV series, exec produced by Bradford, Stone and Parker, will feature a team of reporters who drive across America in a customized tour bus documenting their experiences covering events like the Grammys.
-- "Daddy's Girls," starring Rev Run's daughters Vanessa and Angela Simmons of "Run's House" as they move to Los Angeles and set up an office/showroom for their tennis shoe and apparel line and Vanessa pursues an acting career. The show is exec produced by Jason A. Carbone, Rev Run and Sean "Diddy" Combs.
-- "The Girls of Hedsor Hall," from Trump Prods. and RDF USA, is based on the British RDF Media format "Ladette to Lady." "Girls" takes 12 foul-mouthed party girls from America and sends them to a proper English finishing school. Former Miss USA Tara Conner serves as "visiting instructor" for the girls, one of whom will win $100,000. Trump exec produces with Andy Litinsky, Chris Coelen, Greg Goldman and Dan Morando.
-- The untitled performing arts reality project created by Lachey and Colton Gramm, which follows students from Lachey's alma mater, Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Lachey exec produces with Gramm, Mark Ford, Kevin Lopez and Marc Platt.