‘Teen Wolf’ Was a Hit For MTV. So Why Are They Turning Against Scripted Shows?
After six years on the air, MTV’s Teen Wolf came to an end on Sunday night with the airing of its 100th episode. Teen Wolf was the network’s first hit scripted show. It gave rise to a dedicated fanbase and grew the profiles of its lead actors.
But despite the success of Teen Wolf, MTV has signaled a return to its bread-and-butter nonfiction and reality shows instead of investing further in scripted stories. This fall will see the return of MTV classics like TRL and Fear Factor as well as new original reality programming. These programs are cheaper to make than scripted ones, and ultimately it’s not clear that traditional networks can compete with new entrants such as Netflix and Amazon when it comes to high-quality scripted programming.
There is also the issue of keeping investors happy. MTV’s parent company, Viacom (VIAB), is expecting a dip in sales this quarter and the network has lost viewership on other long-standing programming, such as The Video Music Awards. The award show had more teen viewers than the finale of Game of Thrones this year, but saw a decline in overall viewers—including a 16% fall in MTV’s target demographic of 18-34-year-olds.
Still, MTV isn’t pulling out of the scripted game completely: Jeff Davis, the showrunner of Teen Wolf is reportedly working on an adaptation of War of the Worlds.