Upfronts: 'Finding Carter,' 'Eye Candy' highlight MTV slate

NEW YORK -- An hourlong scripted drama, a teen-friendly procedural, a nonfiction look at young Alaskans and a reality show about bad choices mark MTV’s slate for the coming year.

The youth-oriented network is set to announce its new programming at its annual April upfront here, with family drama “Finding Carter,” YA adaptation “Eye Candy,” the says-it-all-title “Sled Necks” and “One Bad Choice,” an episodic series centering on young people’s consequential acts, among the highlights.

Other upcoming shows include “Snack-Off” and “Beyond Dance,” fresh spins on the eating- and dance-competition shows, respectively (the latter is from noted choreographers Rich and Tone and features performers trying feats in unusual environments, such as underwater or on the side of a building). “Dance,” Sled Necks” and “Choice” are all newly announced shows; the others were previously disclosed as development or production projects.

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MTV also will bring back several shows for new seasons, including genre-tinged “Teen Wolf” (back on June 23) it-just-keeps-going-"Jersey Shore" spinoff “Snooki & JWOWW” and dealing-with-life chatfest “Girl Code.”

“Sled Necks” looks at young people growing up in small-town Alaska, largely away from the hurly-burly of technology (and, for that matter, MTV). “Choices” will follow a new character each episode as they recount a difficult situation and the events that ensued, with story lines covering such topics as romance, drugs and family.

The development cycle marks the first full one under programming chief Susanne Daniels, the former Lifetime and WB exec who took over the MTV post at the end of 2012. “Finding Carter,” the first hourlong full-on scripted drama at the network in many a moon, is likely to be viewed as one of the first referenda on Daniels’ tenure. (Daniels had stewarded similar shows such as “Army Wives” in previous incarnations.)

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Executive produced by Terri Minsky, “Carter” examines a young woman who learns she was kidnapped as a child, creating challenges with both the woman she believed was her mother and the real family she soon learns about. The show premieres July 8 and stars Kathryn Prescott and Meredith Baxter.

Meanwhile, “Eye Candy” is seen as coming in a similar vein to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Smallville,” both youth-oriented shows with a genre gloss that Daniels oversaw at the WB.

The show takes R.L. Stine’s book hit and gives it a Victoria Justice spin, with the “Victorious” star solving serial-killer crimes in New York, “CSI”-style. The show is executive produced by “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum. No premiere date has been announced.

“Eye Candy” was picked up over “Scream,” another genre-inflected project in the MTV pipeline. The small-screen adaptation of the hit horror-comedy film franchise remains in development.

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MTV has been seeking new hits since “Jersey Shore” aired its last episode in December 2012, often veering into scripted terrain. “Awkward,” overseen by Daniels predecessor David Janollari,  has been a somewhat reliable performer, with the fourth season premiering under new show runners Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler earlier this month. The network has been looking to build on it with similar high school-set dramedies, including the lesbian-themed “Faking It,” which just premiered.

The upfronts are set to be held Thursday afternoon at the Beacon Theatre with characteristic live-performance fanfare (this year slated to include Zedd and Bastille). It is also a good day for Rob Dyrdek. The “Ridiculousness” host had his flagship picked up for a fifth season and is also behind “Snack-Off,” a cooking competition in the munchies world that will debut July 10 behind the season premiere of “Ridiculousness.”

The network on Thursday is also expected to announce that on June 10 it will air “9 Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran,” about the British musician, continuing the network’s push into music bio-docs, often associated with the launch of a new album. (Sheeran’s new record, titled “x,” drops two weeks later.) Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga had been among those previously receiving the MTV music-doc treatment.


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