President of struggling MTV out after a year

NEW YORK, N.Y. – MTV’s president is out after only a year as the network once at the centre of youth culture continues to struggle for relevance.

Sean Atkins, who came to MTV from Discovery, quit Monday after the network’s parent company installed another executive over him. Chris McCarthy, who’s had some success overseeing sister networks VH1 and Logo, will now supervise MTV as well.

MTV has fought for attention with a youthful audience whose allegiances change quickly. The network averaged 1.48 million viewers in prime time at the end of 2011, and was down to 550,000 for the three months that ended Sept. 31, the Nielsen company said.

During the past year, viewership declined 16 per cent, and 23 per cent among MTV’s target audience of people aged 18 to 34, Nielsen said.

Its most popular shows — “Teen Mom,” ”Teen Wolf” and “Are You the One?” — have been around for a few years.

Atkins said he’d stay on the job as a consultant until January.

McCarthy was given the promotion by Doug Herzog, president of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. As leader of VH1 since last year, McCarthy has seen ratings go up while targeting an audience of older millennials. VH1 is planning a cooking series co-starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, a series called “Daytime Divas” starring Vanessa Williams and a revival of “America’s Next Top Model.”

McCarthy has had a determined rise at Viacom, starting at the college network mtvU.