Hot off second season return of The Hard Times of RJ Berger, MTV has chosen its next youthful scripted series: It’s stateside version of UK comedy hit The Inbetweeners has received a full season order along with several other new shows — including a sex advice series hosted by columnist Dan Savage and a next-generation dating show from the producers of Jersey Shore.
First, MTV is bringing the hit Brit comedy Inbetweeners to the U.S., ordering 12 episodes for a likely debut in 2012. Brad Copeland (Arrested Development) will exec produce the new version along with Aaron Kaplan and original series creators Damon Beesly and Iain Morris.
“It’s got an incredibly strong and authentic young voice,” said MTV’s head of programming David Janollari of the show. “We were really successful in adapting it for our audience and making it sound like a quintessentially American suburban experience.”
Inbetweeners, which follows four suburban teens, will join the upcoming Teen Wolf (trailer here) on MTV’s burgeoning scripted lineup, along with This is Awkward (formerly That Girl), I Just Want My Pants Back, the animated series Good Vibes and the return of Beavis and Butthead (more on that below).
As part of a first wave of pickups for the year, MTV also just ordered four new unscripted series that fit under Janollari’s goal of “smart, funny and fun” programming, and EW has the exclusive scoop on those as well:
— FriendZone: From the producers of Jersey Shore comes this series where teenagers ask their best friend to help them prepare for an upcoming blind date. After asking for advice on style and how to make all the right moves, they reveal that the date is actually intended for the two of them. “We think that this show reinvents the dating show for this generation,” Janollari said. “It takes us into a journey where you’re on the edge of your seat into awkward territory: Is this couple going to get out of the friend zone or is it going to be a complete and utter disaster?” (495 Productions with SallyAnn Salsano exec producing.)
— Savage U: Columnist Dan Savage brings his brand of blunt advice to MTV late night with this show where he takes questions while touring college campuses. “He’s able to do is bring incredible frankness to the topic of sexuality and spin it with a great sense of humor,” Janollari said. Added head of production Chris Linn: “I don’t think there are any networks talking to teenagers about how to navigate sex and modern relationships. There’s been a real leap forward in information online and the way teens communicate and Dan is somebody who brings real credibility.” (Producers: Picture This Television; exec producers: Bryan Scott, Lisa Tucker, Brian Pines and Savage).
— Game shows The Substitute and Money From Strangers: The first sort of like a school-based version of Cash Cab, where a substitute teacher (Jon Gabrus) surprises unsuspecting students by transforming their classroom into a game show (Michael Davies exec produces). The second show has host Jeff Dye and a collection of guest comedians convincing unwitting contestants to pull pranks on strangers (Tony Tackaberry, Allison Corn and Rob Anderson exec produce).
As for the eagerly anticipated return of Beavis and Butthead, we got a little bit of intel: The show will likely return by the end of the year. Each half-hour episode will feature two stand-alone stories that will carry on in the B&B tradition of skewering pop culture, only now they will also watch and critique movies and TV shows in addition to music videos.
“The biggest change is obviously the references are updated, it’s set in modern day, and there’s going to be a movie review segment,” Linn said. “Otherwise they’re still true to their prior passions.”
Absent from the list is a renewal for Skins, as MTV has not yet decided the show’s fate. MTV has been on a ratings roll lately with its most recent quarter generating the network’s biggest average ratings in five years.