In an effort to monetize 35 years of content, MTV is launching MTV Studios, with the goal of rebooting old hits — including Daria and The Real World — to sell to other networks and streamers.
All four projects are being produced via MTV Studios and will be shopped to outside linear networks and SVOD platforms. In success, MTV Studios will produce a slate for outlets beyond Viacom with a focus on beloved series, franchises and spinoffs.
With more than 200 titles created during its 35-year-plus run, MTV Studios hopes to mine the Viacom-owned cable network’s library of young adult series and franchises. Network president Chris McCarthy, who called the archives “largest youth library in the history of TV,” will also develop originals via MTV Studios. The slate also includes new docuseries The Valley (in the spirit of hits The Hills and Siesta Key) and MTV’s Straight Up Ghosted (which reconnects lost friends who have been, you guessed it, ghosted).
Launching the studio will help MTV monetize its library while not requiring the cable network to be home to offerings that may be outside the linear network’s wheelhouse. The executive, who recently rebooted Jersey Shore and TRL, told The Hollywood Reporter that a show like The Real World wouldn’t be a fit on MTV today. But reviving the series for a streaming platform would help keep the spirit of the original unscripted hit alive for a new generation. Instead, McCarthy said MTV will continue to focus on “loud” docuseries while also using scripted as tentpoles, a la its retooled reboot of Scream.
Launching MTV Studios arrives at a time in which ownership is becoming increasingly important to broadcast, cable and streaming services, which typically want to own their own content. While launching a studio is typically indicative of creating and owning content for your own platforms, MTV Studios will face similar hurdles to landing shows on outside networks. Fellow indie studios like Warner Bros. TV and Sony TV have faced mounting obstacles on the broadcast side as the Big Four all look to buy from their own internal studio counterparts.
The move comes Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is looking to revitalize the media behemoth and as McCarthy wants to transcend MTV from a platform to a larger brand with business outside of the company.
On the programming front, the new Daria is called Daria & Jodie and hails from writer Grace Edwards (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Inside Amy Shumer). The animated series is told through the eyes of Daria Morgendorrfer and one of her closest friends Jodie Landon and follows both as they take on the world, with their signature satirical voice while deconstructing popular culture, social classes, gender and race.The original Daria, a spinoff from Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head, ran for five seasons on MTV from 1997-2002. Made, meanwhile, is a teen makeover show that ran from 2003-2014.Original docuseries The Valley follows a group of 20-somethings living in Nogales, Arizona, and tells the real-life story of friends on the edge of two countries and two cities as they share one valley, their youth and a common bond. Straight Up Ghosted explores stories of real people who vanished by blocking them and the uncomfortable truth about why they were ghosted.
Those join previously announced The Real World, from original producers Bunim/Murray Productions, and animated entry Aeon Flux, from Teen Wolf‘s Jeff Davis.