You thought the ratings drop would mean something else? Not so much. Instead, MTV is launching sixteen new reality TV shows this winter that will combine the lush, cinematic visuals of their cash-cow semi-scripted series The Hills with themes of "affirmation and accomplishment" that are "consistent with the Obama generation," according to Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks music channels and president of Logo.
Graden says the network is working toward building a "new visual language," while simultaneously seeking to take its focus away from the expected reality TV content of bitchery and producer-inflicted dramarama -- those No Drama Obama youngs, apparently, now prefer it when their fantasy programming mirrors their political sensibilities. But those YouTube clip-ready kitty-kat-fights are what MTV has essentially trademarked, and it's a foolish move for them to attempt to go aspirational without weaning its viewers off the drug its been pushing since The Real World: New York first aired in 1992. And even if Graden is correct, why would the cable behmoth mark their lineup overhaul with a return to New York City -- this time via another Adam Diavello spin-off about a pretty former-nobody who was in the right place at the right time, and which speaks to more excess and endless escapism scored to the latest Bloc Party song?
MTV wants to see young people bettering themselves? They're going to them do it by canceling TRL and promoting... oh, a Trump-produced show called Girls of Hedsor Hall, which "will follow a dozen hard-partying young women as they're whisked off to an English finishing school," and debuts in January. My Fair Lady meets The Princess Diaries does not equal the Obama campaign's sanctioned message of hope and change, but it does, however subtly, echo the endless family-charmed nepotism, re-branding, lowered expectations, spin, and metamorphosis that has always been a hallmark of politics. They ought to recognize that connection, and maybe say as much. The kids might not be all right, but they know what they like, and they aren't dumb.
"MTV plans 16 new reality shows" [Variety]