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Brad Schwartz Discusses the Upcoming Challenges for the Fastest Growing Network in the Country

Also, the one celebrity he’d love to work with


Specs
Who Brad Schwartz
New gig president, entertainment and media, TVGN
Old gig svp, programming and operations, Fuse
Age 42

So what’s your mission at TVGN?
We are still in the early days of our evolution and we’re working very hard to define our “why?” so I will have to get back to you on the mission. Our goals, though, are easy. We want to build a strong and differentiated brand. Build a team of crusaders. Inspire bold content and creative. Create an emotional attachment to audiences, deliver an engaging environment for advertisers and build a successful business and have a blast doing it.

Will you be changing the network’s name?
We have a wonderful brand project. We have 83 million homes, we have two great owners, we’re the fastest growing network in the country. We have to package all that up into a personality that makes an emotional connection with audiences. That’s the first thing you do. What you’re called, what you look like—that’s the window dressing once you know who you are. I can’t say definitively that we’ll be changing the name, but if we do it will be the very last thing that happens.

Will the ubiquitous TVGN programming grid continue to be part of the schedule?
No. By the end of this year we’ll be a full-screen entertainment destination in 95 percent of our homes.

Who’s your target audience?
We have a very dedicated female audience and roots in celebrity, entertainment and pop culture. Those are two anchors of the brand’s future and the basis of our content strategy.

Which celebrity would you want to build a prime-time show around, and why?
Justin Timberlake. He is ridiculously talented. He’s a triple threat. He’s hard working. He’s cool. He’s got millennial values. He’s Sinatra. Guys want to be him. Women want to be with him. Oh ... and maybe the Duck Dynasty guys. I hear they are kind of popular too.

What are audiences looking for in new shows?
It’s all about conversations. The shows that people want to watch are the shows all their friends are talking, tweeting and posting about. So we want to create content that can pop in pop culture and is worthy of being passed along.

What’s the most important emotion to stay in touch with during this relaunch process?
For me, it’s always been about having fun, and I think audiences like to have fun too. It’s a difficult world out there, and a network like ours needs to create an environment that when audiences come to us they can feel like we’re all having fun together.

Any prime-time schedules that you particularly admire?
I watch everything on FX these days. I love their brand and content philosophy. I’ll always be a champion of MTV’s prime-time schedule with original programming four or five nights a week. Same with Bravo and their originals. And you can’t ignore what History has done with their schedule over the past four years. Those are signposts for us, and we’d love to get to that level.

Any way to harness your music programming background?
Music and musicians will always be a passion of mine, so I’ll always be very active in finding things to do with music.

Your most favorite live show ever?
Radiohead, when they played MTV2’s $2 Bill concert series at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 2003. They did four encores. It was ridiculous. 

Photo: Alfred Maskeroni


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