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July 29, 2009

MTV, now the feel-good network

Rewinding a bit: MTV kicked off the second day of TCA with a pair of projects that are part of the network's new programming mandate: Feel-Good TV.

"These shows reflect the values of this Millennial Generation, the hopefulness, the optimism and can-do spirit of our audience," said Tony DiSanto, programming president at MTV. 

The network paneled its "Intervention"-style series "Gone Too Far" with DJ AM that shows young addicts trying to get sober, along with "The Buried Life," where a quartet travel the country helping strangers accomplish something they'd like to do before they die.

"This is truly inspiring and has a great pay-it-forward message," DiSanto said of the latter program.

It's an interesting -- and almost certainly intensively market-researched -- shift for the network, which has always been strangely comfortable and successful blending corporate thinking with youth culture. MTV has cool shows, yet is pretty straightforward about its bottom-line, button-down focus.

At one point, DiSanto referred to the network's new programming mandate as producing a series that "gives life to and dimensionalizes our new aspirational and optimistic brand filter" -- a phrase worthy of an indie film satirizing Hollywood and gets funnier the more you think about it.


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