EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that MTV President of Entertainment Brian Graden does not intend to renew his contract, which ends early next year. He is currently in negotiations with Viacom to remain at the company in some new role beyond the new year but the form of that relationship and the deal points have not been finalized. Graden oversees MTV, VH1, CMT and the first gay channel, Logo, which he launched. Sources close to Graden tell me that because of his frustration over Viacom’s dwindling fortunes and his huge backend payout, reportedly as much as $15 million, there’s no incentive for Gradon to stay. He’s been with Viacom more than 13 years, surpassing Brandon Tartikoff’s record 12-year run as a programmer at NBC. Graden is the guy who took MTV from all music videos to crappy reality programming. He shepherded TRL, Jackass, The Osbournes, The Hills, and America’s Best Dance Crew, and led a turnaround at VH1, more than doubling that cabler’s ratings over the last 5 years. He is also credited with bringing South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to sister network Comedy Central, when he was an independent executive producer. I’m told Graden is currently doing an official “staging” of a Broadway musical he co-wrote, as well as songwriting, and penning a book about pop culture and philanthropy.
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