Sean Atkins Named President of MTV

Exec’s appointment follows departure of Stephen Friedman earlier on Wednesday

Sean Atkins MTV

Sean Atkins has been named President of MTV, the network announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of the exit of Stephen Friedman, who vacated the post earlier the same day after seven years as head of the cable network.

Atkins will report to Doug Herzog, president of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, MTV’s parent company.

MTV’s programming co-heads, Mina Lefevre, Executive Vice President and Head of Scripted Development, and Lauren Dolgen, Head of Reality Programming and Executive Vice President of Series Development, will report directly to Atkins.

“Sean is smart, creative, passionate, and remarkably energized about the sea change at hand in our industry,” said Herzog in a statement. “The strength of MTV lies in its ability to constantly reinvent, and Sean’s forward-thinking, versatile leadership will ensure our brand and business continue to evolve and deliver for our audience.”

Friedman’s exit earlier Wednesday was announced via memo to the staff. According to his note and another to the staff from Herzog, Friedman is departing to pursue social-impact ventures.

Friedman had served as president of MTV since 2011. He first joined the company in 1998.

Atkins comes to MTV from Discovery Communications, where he served as GM and EVP of Digital Media and Strategy. In his post, Atkins was responsible for driving the company’s original online video strategy and networks including Revision3, SourceFed, Discovery News, and TestTube.

Prior to Discovery, Atkins served as Senior Vice President of Digital Media at HBO, where he helped conceptualize and build the platform that ultimately became HBOGo. Previously, he was head of programming and development at Yahoo! Entertainment.