Veteran MTV Programmers DiSanto, Gateley Exit

Longtime MTV veteran Tony DiSanto is leaving the network at the end of the year, and he’s taking his top lieutenant with him.

DiSanto, MTV’s president of programming, is moving on to establish a production company, DiGa, with Liz Gateley, svp, development. He’s also said to have hashed out a distribution deal with Electus, the IAC unit founded by former NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman.

MTV has not named a replacement for either exec, but the frontrunner to assume DiSanto’s post is David Janollari, the former head of the WB Network. Janollari joined MTV in January 2010 as evp of scripted development.

The news comes as MTV is enjoying its hottest quarter in recent memory. After enduring a lengthy ratings slump, the network last year dove back into the zeitgeist with shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom; as a result, MTV has reclaimed its position as a must-carry network for viewers 12-34.

Per Nielsen, MTV’s deliveries of its core demo grew 30 percent in the third quarter of 2010, a period in which the network boasted eight of the top 10 most-watched programs among viewers 12-34. With an average nightly draw of 1.22 million total viewers, the net boosted its prime time deliveries by 43 percent versus Q3 2009.

MTV closed out Q3 ranked No. 1 among viewers 18-34, averaging 632,000 (up 53 percent), and tied History for fifth place with 802,000 viewers 18-49, a 46 percent improvement.