The intiative aims to generate unscripted content as well as to provide funding, infrastructure, services and staff.
MTV Entertainment Group said Thursday that it’s committing $250 million over the next three years to “fuel the growth of content led and produced by BIPOC- and women-owned and -operated production companies.”
The ViacomCBS division, which was formerly known as MTV Entertainment & Youth and includes MTV and VH1, is touting the endeavor as the “first of its kind” in that it will provide funding, production infrastructure, services and staff as part of the effort to develop new creative, formats and ideas in the unscripted arena.
Producers Lashan Browning and Adam Gonzalez, who signed overall deals with MTV Studios last year, were brought in-house to pilot the initiative. They have already been producing and creating unscripted content and will form their own respective third-party production ventures with an equity investment made by MTV Entertainment.
Browning previously executive produced Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and Cartel Crew. She got her start working for Spike Lee and went on to help launch Oxygen.
Gonzalez executive produced Teyana & Iman, America’s Next Top Model and Mob Wives, where he first worked with MTV Entertainment’s Nina L. Diaz, president of content and chief creative officer.
MTV Entertainment said this initiative builds on its longtime success in the reality TV arena while also going “beyond the screen” to provide ownership opportunities for BIPOC and women.
“As a former showrunner, this endeavor is something very close to my heart,” Diaz said. “Having come up on the production side where this kind of pipeline didn’t exist, it is a great privilege to help launch a new generation of creative powerhouses into production ownership.”
The news comes following the company’s September announcement of the creation of its First Time Directors Program for BIPOC and women filmmakers. The program aims to produce 50 films for Paramount Network, Comedy Central, MTV and other corporate siblings. The program pairs the directors with a roster of A-list executive producers as ViacomCBS made deals with Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, Idris Elba, Salma Hayek, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria and their respective production companies.
Last month, MTV Entertainment Group unveiled Culture Code, a comprehensive DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) initiative that will offer best-in-class training through a multidisciplinary approach in collaboration with social justice partners.