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CMT Appoints Shaleen Desai VP of Scripted Programming

Executive previously worked at BBC Worldwide and Fox 21

CMT has brought on Shaleen Desai as its new vice president of scripted programming, the network announced on Friday.

In this newly created role, Desai will oversee the growth of scripted programming at CMT. Based in Los Angeles, his duties will include working with the creative community to generate ideas for new programming concepts and characters, as well as developing and overseeing all aspects of scripted production.

He will report to Jayson Dinsmore, the executive vice president of development and programming at CMT.

“Shaleen is equal parts creative and strategist; bringing diverse pedigree to the brand,” Dinsmore said in a statement. “He’s a welcome addition to our growing development team and will play a critical role in positioning CMT as a home for premium scripted programming.”

Desai joins CMT from Jason Bateman‘s Aggregate Films, where he served as the executive vice president of television, selling pilots and series to NBC, FOX and Netflix.

Previously, he served as senior vice president at Fishbowl Worldwide Media, where he ran the scripted department. He has also held executive positions at BBC Worldwide and 20th Century Fox’s cable arm Fox 21. Desai also worked for David Letterman‘s Worldwide Pants and served as a producer for “The Late Late Show.”

CMT is banking on a big move into scripted programming.

On January 5, CMT will debut the new season of “Nashville” that will segue into the premiere of the limited-run scripted series, “Million Dollar Quartet,” that chronicles young Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis’ and more rise to fame. The network is also developing a television adaptation of the movie “Varsity Blues.”