MTV returns to roots with music programming

MTV has announced that it is returning to its roots with music programming this fall. The announcement was made during the network’s annual Upfronts presentation in New York on Thursday (April 21st) which included a live performance by Kendrick Lamar.

MTV committed to bringing more live music and music-inspired programming to the network, announcing greenlights for Wonderland, a new L.A.-based weekly music series featuring live performances from three different acts; a yet-untitled music competition series from Executive Producer Mark Burnett; and a newly reimagined version of the beloved MTV Unplugged. Additionally, MTV announced a deal with Scooter Braun Films to develop Studio 24, in which a famous artist and mystery talent are paired to create a new song in 24 hours. The network is also in development on new music documentary series Year One, which will draw on its trove of archival footage to explore the breakthrough year in a superstar’s career.

“We’re on a mission to reignite MTV with everything that makes it one of the world’s most iconic brands  – its soul of music, its love of pop culture, and its unexpected, groundbreaking creative,” said Sean Atkins, President of MTV.  “What we share today is just the beginning, but it’s a strong first step in the journey and shows how aggressively we are moving to energize the extraordinary promise of this great brand.”

Wonderland: MTV’s first weekly live music performance series in nearly twenty years is a new weekly show that re-imagines live music programming and delivers a smart, comedic take on pop culture at large. Co-developed with Comedy Central, Wonderland will bring together the best new music, ground-breaking live performances and young comedic talent under one roof in a highly curated and truly innovative multi-streamed viewing experience.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, and set in a multi-roomed location, Wonderland does not take place in your typical TV studio but a real living, breathing space that has things happening in every room simultaneously. The weekly show will be a raw, fast-paced, unique hour of entertainment hosted by a group of opinionated tastemakers who live for music as musicians themselves and comedians. Live performances are the beating heart of every episode and this show will provide a platform for artists to experiment with the unexpected, express their creativity in new ways and deliver one-off performances that will become inked in the public consciousness.

MTV Unplugged: A response to the heavily produced music of the late ’80s and early ’90s, MTV Unplugged triggered an acoustic music groundswell. The series presented artists in different yet complementary lights showcasing musicianship and songcraft. Through its distinctive format, MTV Unplugged manages the miraculous feat of reaching beyond core fans to connect contemporary artists to heritage audiences and heritage artists to younger audiences in equal measures. The conditions are right in 2016 to do it again. The revitalized Unplugged will restore key elements that made the franchise so groundbreaking in the first place, while resetting the show in the multi-platform video world of today.

The Untitled Mark Burnett Music Competition Series: Welcome to the recording studio, where talent is transformed and legends are discovered. At the intersection of music and business, this show gives hip hop’s freshest talent a chance at every musician’s dream: getting signed. Mark Burnett, the Executive Producer of Shark Tank and The Voice, brings us the best of both worlds, with undiscovered artists performing in front of music’s biggest moguls, each eager to sign the next breakout star. But forget the shiny floor stage — it’s all happening in the recording studio in the first of its kind, organic music competition series that breaks all the rules. The yet-untitled series from executive producer Mark Burnett will be executive produced by Burnett and MGM Television with MGM also serving as international distributor.

The network has also announced newly-signed deals with a host of new creative partners including Mark Burnett to develop comedic reality half-hour First World Problems (working title); rapper Pitbull to executive produce Miami-based drama 305 (working title); Drew Barrymore to executive produce coming-of-age twin drama Blooms (working title); It’s The Real (working title) a comedic half-hour from the Upper West Side Jewish hip hop duo of the same name produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted; and Greatest Movie Show of all Time, This Week (working title) a weekly half-hour comedy/talk show Executive Produced by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions that celebrates the latest movie news, trends, and rumors through interviews, sketches, and panel discussion. Greatest Movie Show of all Time, This Week is co-created by and features MTV News movie correspondent Josh Horowitz.

MTV returns to roots with music programming

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email:

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