Another veteran MTV Networks executive is leaving the company, which has been undergoing a string of executive changes. Lauren Dolgen, who had been at MTV for 19 years, is stepping down as Head of Reality Programming and EVP of Series Development. Her position won’t be replaced.
Dolgen was named to the new post in March 2015 in one of multiple executive reshufflings over the past few years at MTV, which also underwent a company-wide round of layoffs. She previously was Head of West Coast Reality and EVP of Series Development. Dolgen’s scripted counterpart, Mina Lefevre, is staying on.
Dolgen’s departure comes three months after Michael Klein joined MTV as EVP Original Content in March. When the network’s previous head of programming Susanne Daniels exited her post in July 2015, the plan was to not fill the position, with Lefevre and Dolgen, named co-heads of programming, reporting to then-MTV president Stephen Friedman.
A couple of months later, Sean Atkins replaced Friedman. He subsequently brought in Klein, to whom Lefevre and Dolgen began to report.
Dolgen was the last top MTV executive from the network’s glory days still working at the network. In recognition of Dolgen’s tenure at MTV and her track record, she was given a sendoff by Doug Herzog, president of Viacom’s Music & Entertainment Group, who wrote:
As someone who’s been around Viacom for a good chunk of Lauren’s career, I was able watch it unfold with great deal of admiration. I just want to echo Michael and thank Lauren for her great work and enormous contributions to MTV. She has always been a fierce champion of the brand.
Her fingerprints and great work are all over MTV and it’s original programming. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know her over this past year. I’m excited to see what comes the next chapter brings.
Here is Klein’s internal memo on Dolgen’s departure:
Lauren Dolgen, our Head of Reality Programming and owner of an incredible run of hits in her nearly 20-year career at MTV, is leaving the company.
You can trace Lauren’s career in the history of the network over the past two decades, and as an exec she represents the best of the brand – smart, funny, irreverent, full of ideas, and an absolute junkie for culture and content.
She’s been behind some of the most kinetic hits in MTV’s history, cutting her teeth on the seminal “Jackass” and then developing many of its spiritual successors – “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” “Rob and Big,” “Viva La Bam,” “Wild Boyz,” and “Buckwild.” And, of course, “Ridiculousness,” which eight seasons in remains a strong pillar of our schedule. So many of those shows point to what MTV can and should do best – series that may not be specifically music, but have music, whether it’s skate punk or hip hop, clearly in their DNA.
Her work in engineering the successful run of “America’s Best Dance Crew;” reinventing “The Real World,” and launching “Are You The One?” speak to the versatility she’s brought to the brand. It’s a track record I admired long before I walked in the door.
And then there’s the “16 and Pregnant”/”Teen Mom” franchise, an unequivocal cultural phenomenon spawned from Lauren’s simple idea to explore the challenges and triumphs of very young mothers. “Teen Mom” has been a top-five MTV series every year since it launched in 2009, and ratings aren’t even the most powerful measure of its impact. Studies have credited the franchise with driving up to one-third of the overall decline in teen pregnancy – a staggering statistic. “Teen Mom” alone puts Lauren in the hall of fame.
Lauren has been discussing the next chapter in her career with Sean for a few months now and I want to thank her for helping with the transition – and for her work in helping jumpstart the development pipeline. I look forward to digging in with the team and working to push this brand forward.
I hope you’ll join me in thanking Lauren for her brilliant career with MTV and wishing her the very best of luck.