MTV is changing its programming script, hiring former WB chief David Janollari to serve in a newly created post heading up comedy and drama development for the cable network as it looks to expand beyond the likes of "Jersey Shore" and "The Hills."
The move had been buzzed about since November and was officially confirmed Wednesday. Janollari will serve as executive VP of scripted development, based in Santa Monica and reporting to MTV programming lord Tony DiSanto.
MTV has made some tentative moves toward adding more scripted shows to its reality-heavy lineup in recent months, greenlighting a couple of projects. Janollari, however, is expected to dramatically increase development on such projects. He’ll work on both series scripts and TV movies that can serve as back-door pilots.
“David has a proven track record of commercial and critical success as both a buyer and a seller," DiSanto said. "He has… strong relationships in this business and great passion for making television. He is the perfect fit for this key role in our programming organization, as we put a laser focus on scripted content."
Janollari’s biggest mark in the TV business has been his role as co-founder of the Greenblatt Janollari Studio, an indie production banner that did well back in the day (the 1990s) when there was such a thing as independent TV production. He was partnered with Bob Greenblatt, who now runs Showtime.
The duo’s biggest successes were HBO’s "Six Feet Under" and "The Hughleys."
“I grew up with MTV and have always admired the power of the brand," Janollari said. "I’m excited to help lead them into the scripted series world at a time when young audiences want entertainment that speaks to their generation."
More recently, Janollari served a short stint heading up The WB in the post-Jordan Levin era. He developed the hits "Supernatural" and "Beauty and the Geek."
Before striking out on his own, Janollari was a development executive at Warner Bros. TV during the Leslie Moonves years.