EXCLUSIVE: I hear MTV is finalizing its succession plans in light of the pending departure of the network’s president of programming Tony DiSanto. I hear that the bulk of DiSanto’s responsibilities will be divided between EVP scripted development David Janollari and EVP MTV Production Chris Linn. Janollari will continue to oversee all scripted development for the network and may take over some unscripted responsibilities as he is expected to oversee all West Coast development. Chris Linn, who has been the current executive on MTV’s biggest series Jersey Shore while also heading development and production of TV movies and production of pilots and series, is expected to take oversight of East Coast development.
Meanwhile, MTV general manager Stephen Friedman who was already overseeing scheduling for the smaller MTV nets such as MTV2 and mtvU, is expected to also do so for the flagship MTV as well as take over the specials and events portion of DiSanto’s portfolio. Friedman already reports to Van Toffler, president of MTV networks Music/Logo/Films Group. Janollari and Linn are also expected to report to him. It took over a month for MTV to close Janollari’s new deal, which is also how long it took for his first pact when he joined the network in January. MTV is expected to make the announcement this coming week.
DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, are leaving at the end of the year to work on their newly launched production company, in which Ben Silverman’s IAC-owned Electus has a stake. MTV won’t appoint a direct replacement for the network’s unscripted head Gateley, but the network has been preparing for her departure with 2 key appointments in the unscripted area in the past few months: Lauren Dolgen was promoted to SVP of MTV Series Development, West Coast and well-known reality producer Shannon Fitzgerald was hired as VP series development, East Coast.