People/Biz

MTV names Chris McCarthy boss as Atkins steps down

Millennial-skewing music network MTV has appointed Chris McCarthy president of MTV as Sean Atkins earlier today (Oct. 24) announced his intentions to depart the broadcaster. McCarthy (pictured), who currently serves as president of MTV sister nets ...
October 24, 2016

Millennial-skewing music network MTV has appointed Chris McCarthy president of MTV as Sean Atkins earlier today (Oct. 24) announced his intentions to depart the broadcaster.

McCarthy (pictured), who currently serves as president of MTV sister nets VH1 and Logo, will now oversee all creative and business operations for the youth-culture brand. He will continue to be based in New York and report to Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog.

McCarthy joined the Viacom fold as GM of VH1 last year, replacing Tom Calderone, before being elevated to president of both VH1 and Logo earlier this summer. Under McCarthy, VH1 was named one of the fastest growing entertainment networks on cable, delivering its biggest year-over-year ratings growth in nearly 15 years in fiscal 2016, according to Viacom.

The network’s pop culture slate includes Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, Hip Hop Honors and The Breaks, as well as such forthcoming series as Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, Daytime Divas with Vanessa Williams, and the resurrection of America’s Next Top Model with Rita Ora and Ashley Graham as hosts.

McCarthy gained oversight of Logo in 2014, transforming the brand into an LGBT-focused digital destination; launching the Emmy-winning Logo Documentary Films division; and growing flagship program RuPaul’s Drag Race into an Emmy winner.

The exec was first named GM of MTV2 in 2010, where he oversaw the launch of such series as Guy Code and Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out. Prior to this, he served as executive VP for MTV and GM for mtvU.

“Chris has infused every brand he’s led with creativity, strategic clarity and distinctive talent  driving results that defy this extraordinarily competitive landscape,” said Herzog in a statement. “MTV is an iconic brand full of opportunity, and Chris has demonstrated the vision and ability to grow its expansive reach and powerful cultural impact.”

The appointment comes after Atkins earlier confirmed he will step down from his role as MTV president after a little more than a year on the job.  Atkins was chosen by Herzog to replace Stephen Friedman last October. Since then he’s been responsible for overseeing all creative and business operations for the brand and sister networks MTV2 and mtvU.

During his tenure, he oversaw the network’s rebrand by committing to live music and music-inspired programming such as Made in Compton, Wonderland and Virtually Famous, as well as forthcoming series Stranded with a Million Dollars, Signed and Going Off.

He also oversaw the launch of MTV’s Snapchat Discovery channel, the MTV News reboot and the founding of MTV Docs, the net’s documentary unit.

MTV has said Atkins will remain with the broadcaster in an advisory role to consult on the transition through January.

“I’m so deeply impressed with the team here and so grateful to have been part of it,” said Atkins in a staff email obtained by realscreen. “You have unbelievable drive and dedication, unstoppable creative passion and are relentlessness in attacking challenges from every possible angle. This speaks volumes about the amazing MTV culture and your commitment to this brand.

“You will all be in very good hands as I move on, I assure you. And I promise I will be watching and cheering as you continue to build up from the great foundation we created together.”

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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