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‘Jersey Shore’: Record Ratings Equals “Quality Programming”, Says Former MTV Executive

Fin - Daily Ticker - US

When you think of MTV these days, do you think of music and music videos or reality TV shows like the controversial pop culture phenomenon The Jersey Shore?

If you are like The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task, you think of Snooki, Pauly D and The Situation (admittedly the show is one of his guilty pleasures).

To that point, there is an entire generation of kids today who do not even know what a music video is anymore. But this perception that MTV does not really play music anymore is all wrong says, Bill Roedy, the former chairman and chief executive of MTV Networks International and author of the new book "What Make Business Rock."

"There is a little bit of a stereotype here which is inaccurate," says Roedy. "MTV has never played more music," referring the multiple offshoot MTV music channels. With that said, he does acknowledge that "a long time ago [MTV] shifted to youth culture and youth entertainment."

This shift was a smart financial move. Over the last decade, reality programming has done wonders for the network's bottom line -- especially with the launch of The Jersey Shore, which is about a young group of kids who like to party hard. The show's third season was a record for MTV with about 8 million viewers watching.

Advertisers are lining up to get in on the action. In the first quarter of the year, MTV networks revenues topped $2 billion, just about 64 percent of Viacom total revenue.

Yet, the shows success has come with a lot of criticism from Italian Americans and residents of the Garden State. And now, the show is facing push-back from Italy itself where the show is set to tape its fourth season.

When asked about the quality of the show, Roedy halfheartedly quotes an old advertising saying: "It is quality programming because the ratings are very high." But, really, he says, the quality is for the viewers to decide, not him.

The Times, They Are A Changing

The woman responsible for MTV's success and rock star ratings abruptly announced her resignation from the company last week. Judy McGrath spent roughly 30 years at the company.

"We respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top of her game," said Viacom President Philippe Dauman in a statement on the news. But, several executives at the company motioned that McGrath was forced out, according the The New York Times.

Regardless of the reason for the change, Roedy commends her three-decade tenure at the company. "She's had a remarkable career, huge success and it is nice to end on a high note."