Based in Los Angeles, Desai’s duties will include working with the creative community to generate ideas for new programming concepts and characters, as well as developing and overseeing all aspects of scripted production. Desai will report to Jayson Dinsmore, Executive Vice President of Development and Programming for CMT.
“Shaleen is equal parts creative and strategist; bringing diverse pedigree to the brand,” said Dinsmore. “He’s a welcome addition to our growing development team and will play a critical role in positioning CMT as a home for premium scripted programming.”
Desai joins CMT from Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, where he served as EVP Television. Previously, he served as SVP at Fishbowl Worldwide Media where he ran the scripted department, served as VP of Programming at BBC Worldwide, and was one of the founding executives of 20th Century Fox’s cable arm, fox21. He also worked for David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and served as a producer for The Late, Late Show.
CMT’s scripted portfolio includes comedy Still The King, which was recently renewed for a second season, along with the upcoming premieres of the new season of Nashville and limited-run scripted series Million Dollar Quartet. Additional scripted projects in development include a pilot order for His Wives & Daughters, which is currently casting, and a script order for a television adaptation of Varsity Blues.