MTV Enlists HBO’s Sheila Nevins to Launch New Documentary Films Division

Longtime HBO Documentary Films president oversaw projects that won dozens of Emmys and Academy Awards

Sheila Nevins
Brigitte Lacombe/MTV

MTV has tapped longtime HBO exec Sheila Nevins to launch a new MTV Documentary Films unit, the Viacom network announced on Monday.

Nevins, a legendary documentary producer and executive who spent nearly four decades at HBO leading its efforts in the genre, will oversee the new division as it develops documentary films and specials for third-party streaming services, premium networks and MTV’s own platforms.

Per MTV’s announcement, the network seeks to “embrace a new generation of filmmakers exploring the social, political and cultural trends and stories important to young people.”

“MTV has always been at the forefront of youth culture, and the generation that is growing up now will change the world in ways we can’t even imagine,” Nevins said in a statement.  “I’m excited to join MTV with electrifying stories that explore the crises and commitments that young people face every day.”

“Throughout her stellar career, Sheila has elevated documentaries into one of the most compelling, culturally influentially forms of modern storytelling,” MTV president Chris McCarthy said.  “As we grow and expand MTV, we’re excited for Sheila to bring a new generation of filmmakers to the forefront and continue to extend our creativity and cultural impact.”

Throughout her time at HBO, Nevins oversaw more than 1,500 projects, including “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” “When theLevees Broke,” “Paradise Lost,” “America Undercover,” “Taxicab Confessions” and “Citizenfour.”

Her track record includes projects that have won a total of 28 Oscars and 44 Peabodys, and Nevins herself has won 34 Primetime Emmy Awards, a record for any individual. She stepped down from her post last year, candidly saying at the time that she made the decision in order to “pursue the rest of my life.”