mtvU, MSN and Boston University Team to Create Student-Produced Sitcom Pilot to Premiere on mtvU Spring ‘06

in Arts, College of Communication, News Releases
May 2nd, 2005

Contact: Ann Deveney, 617/353-2240 | devenea@bu.edu

Contact:

David French
MTV/MTV2/mtvU
212-846-6698
david.french@mtvstaff.com

Marnie Black
MTV/mtvU
212-258-7004
marnie.black@mtvstaff.com

(New York) — mtvU, MSN and Boston University (BU) today announced a unique and groundbreaking collaboration to create a television series pilot produced entirely by BU students, that will premiere on mtvU – the 24 hour channel devoted entirely to college students – early next year. mtvU has embarked on a year-long journey to document students from BU’s acclaimed Film and Television Department and the School of Theatre Arts at the College of Fine Arts, as they develop, write, cast, produce and star in an original sitcom pilot of their design. Production of the pilot itself will be made possible by MSN, which will also provide back-end tech support throughout the production process. BU students will use MSN technology – including MSN Messenger – throughout their creative process, and then integrate the MSN brand into the final project in an organic and meaningful way.

mtvU began following Professor Paul Schneider’s “Advanced Television Writing” class in January 2005. Each student in the class has pitched Schneider – himself a former television director (episodes of “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Jag,” and “The Menendez Murders,” a TV movie for Fox) – their ideas, and each has begun writing a script. At the end of the semester, their scripts will be reviewed by a panel of judges including actor Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld”), Ted Harbert (President and CEO of E! Networks), director Rob Reiner (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “Throw Momma from the Train,” “This is Spinal Tap”), Gary Newman (President of Twentieth Century Fox Television), Ruthanne Secunda (Endeavor Talent Agency) and Ross Martin (Head of Programming, mtvU). The panel of judges will choose one student’s script to be piloted and, this fall, the students will begin pre-production, handling everything including the casting, acting, production, editing, themselves. The entire BU sitcom process will air on mtvU for a total of three weeks (two original programming hours per week), building to a finale during the third week, when the pilot will world premiere on mtvU, reaching over 725 colleges and universities.

“At its heart, this partnership with mtvU is about unlocking an educational opportunity for our students and creating an exciting and unique platform from which they can showcase their creativity and talent,” says Professor Paul Schneider. “We are delighted to be involved and look forward to some great programming.”

“The moment Professor Schneider contacted us about his class,” said Ross Martin, mtvU’s Head of Programming, “we knew this project embodied the very premise upon which mtvU was built. We’re thrilled that, together with Boston University and MSN, mtvU is providing college students with yet another unprecedented opportunity to showcase their talent, creativity and passion on a national scale.”

The three-way collaboration of mtvU, Boston University and MSN creates a uniquely innovative opportunity to showcase MSN Messenger. The students were recently informed by Professor Schneider that MSN will sponsor production of the pilot, and that they will, in turn, integrate MSN Messenger creatively into the storyline.

Furthermore, MSN Messenger will be an integral part of the pilot’s casting process, as students use the service to cast several roles for the production of the pilot. Viewers can track progress of the BU student team via a weekly weblog, written by the winning student writer, that will appear on http://www.mtvU.com, http://www.msn.com and http://www.bu.edu.

“We’re very excited to join forces with mtvU on this program,” said Anupam Gupta, Director Product Management of MSN Messenger for Microsoft Corp. “This is a great opportunity to support an innovative educational opportunity while also showcasing how MSN Messenger can help customers stay connected with people they care about.”

“mtvU is proud to be the conduit for advertisers to connect with the college audience in innovative new ways,” says Carolyn Everson, National Director, Ad Sales, mtvU. “While the marketplace is talking about the next evolution of product placement, mtvU is already serving as an incubator where advertisers can take integration to the next level.”

mtvU is the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. 24hrs a day, 7days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they hang out, through a three pronged approach — on-air, online and on campus. mtvU focuses on content including music programming, news, student life features, events, pro-social initiatives and more.

For more information about mtvU, and for a complete programming schedule, visit http://www.mtvu.com.

MTV Networks owns and operates the cable television programming services MTV: Music Television, MTV2, mtvU, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land, VH1, CMT: Country Music Television, and Spike TV, as well as The Digital Suite from MTV Networks, a package of thirteen digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks also operates and offers joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide.

Boston University’s College of Communication, with an enrollment of more than 2,300 graduate and undergraduate students, specializes in journalism, film and television, mass communication, advertising and public relations. The Television Program has concentrations in production, screenwriting and management.

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