Graden Goes, Will MTV Change Forever?

By Stefanie Lee

Jun 16, 2009

Brian Graden, the mastermind behind a bevy of MTV's powerhouse reality shows, is stepping down after 13 years at Viacom. As President of Entertainment, he was responsible for TRL, Jackass, The Osbournes, The Hills, Pimp My Ride and America's Best Dance Crew. He also brought Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park to Comedy Central, another staple of Viacom, and created Logo, the first gay channel. His contract runs out in December and, because of Viacom's decreased revenue and a hefty payout, he saw no reason to stay.

So, the big question is, will MTV change? Whether we like it or not, this guy had a huge influence on pop culture because he understood how to unite the many niches of teenage culture under a single, appealing brand. He made a talentless oaf like Carson Daly relevant, a pair of idiots like Speidi popular and a fool like Johnny Knoxville rich. But it's not the personalities he presented to society, it's the subject matter he ambushed us with. TRL breathed new life into MTV's old music video format and allowed fans to interact with celebrities and choose the direction of the show. The Osbournes played into the hands of human curiosity -- who wouldn't want to watch a show about Ozzy and family, given the option? And Pimp My Ride is just plain fun. It's fantasy-fulfilling and easy to digest.

Problem is, most of these shows weren't built to last. People are (and will continue to grow) tired of Heidi and Spencer. Pimp My Ride can only pimp so many rides before the pimping becomes redundant (replace "pimp" with "makeover" and "straight guy" with "ride" and you've got the same downfall of Queer Eye). MTV has stated that his spot won't be filled. Without a mind like this to keep the target audience young and hip, which is MTV's intention, will the network age ungracefully? Will we see the Pratts move from mansion to nursing home? Will the programming lose its addictive, mindless appeal? Hopefully not. That's what made his shows so great. One thing's for sure, though: Heidi and Spencer need to take a leave of absence.

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  • Dirk13 Jul 07, 2009

    Of course his spot wont be filled, no one really deserving gets entertainment biz jobs anymore, it's one aging top end with no entry level to speak of.

  • Tortured_Mike Jun 18, 2009

    I think the opinion is unanamous:

    Good ridance to bad rubbish!

  • Tortured_Mike Jun 18, 2009

    I think the opinion is unanamous:

    Good ridance to bad rubbish!

  • tainted_elf Jun 17, 2009

    Now perhaps we'll get some music in MTV. I might be wrong but wasn't it the initial purpose of the network?

    However they already lost so much room to youtube... I don't know how they could keep up.

  • marylnsky5 Jun 17, 2009

    been a while

  • kylebryant50 Jun 17, 2009

    thank god hes gone, now MTV might play some decent videos again like they did in the mid 90s, before it all turned to crap. Good riddance.

  • marylnsky Jun 17, 2009

    wow.

  • Tortured_Mike Jun 17, 2009

    Wow, he must have been such a genius to "create" such "brilliant" shows as Jackass, The Hills & The Osbournes! Those shows speak to my soul!

    *Oh, by the way I was being sarcastic.

  • BeachfrontGlass Jun 17, 2009

    So he's the one responsible for ruining MTV?! Are they going to start showing music videos again anytime soon?

  • Tortured_Mike Jun 17, 2009

    Yeh, haven't seen a song on MTV for a few years now!

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