In terms of its programming, MTV is dumber than a houseful of guidos. But in terms of how it selects that programming, MTV has always been one of the smartest, savviest kids on the block. It always does its homework (i.e. extensive market research) and sometimes turns that homework into a new series. Compare this footage from Frontline’s “The Merchants Of Cool” with every episode of the old MTV dating show Room Raiders. Notice any similarities?
That said, it doesn’t take light home invasion to realize what today’s teens and 20somethings want to watch the most: themselves, in a mirror, for hours. That’s laid bare across Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, and soon it’ll be laid bare across MTV as well, in two new scripted series the network announced today. The first, Underemployed, concerns a group of recent college grads struggling to fulfill lofty dreams—recent college grads directly inspired by creator Craig Wright’s own 21-year-old son. The second, Zach Stone Is Gonna Ba Famous, is about a kid so hungry for celebrity, he hires a film crew to follow him around, starring real-life self-made celebrity Bo Burnham. Hey MTV: If you’re still hard-up for something to pair with the next season of Awkward., might we interest you in our spec script about a group of Brooklynites who communicate solely through one-joke Tumblrs?
One of the network’s three new unscripted pick-ups also deals with the digital echo chamber: The previously announced Catfish, adapted from the polarizing, questionably fictional 2010 documentary about a long-distance Facebook relationship. MTV’s Catfish will have a similar focus—though, for the sake of the participants, let’s hope the series avoids [SPOILER ALERT] the hard left turn the film takes when its online lovers finally meet. Though maybe they’ll be too caught up in their online personas to even notice—either way, MTV, that savvy fucker, will be there to reap the rewards and sort through the participants’ closets to find the inspiration for next season’s shows.