CMT NAMES SHALEEN DESAI VICE PRESIDENT OF SCRIPTED PROGRAMMING
LOS ANGELES - October 14, 2016 – Shaleen Desai has been named Vice President of Scripted Programming for CMT, it was announced today by Jayson Dinsmore, Executive Vice President of Development and Programming for CMT, to whom he will report.
In this newly created role, Desai will oversee the continued growth and success of scripted programming at CMT. Based in Los Angeles, his duties will include working with the creative community to generate ideas for new programming concepts and characters, as well as developing and overseeing all aspects of scripted production.
The appointment comes on the heels of CMT’s successful move into scripted programming. The premiere of the scripted comedy, “Still the King,” in June notched the network’s highest-rated original series to date; averaging more than 3 million viewers each week; and was recently greenlit for a second season. On Thursday, January 5th, CMT will debut the highly-anticipated new season of “Nashville” that will segue into the premiere of the limited-run scripted series, “Million Dollar Quartet” (working title), that chronicles young Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis’ and more rise to fame. Additional scripted projects in development include a pilot order for “His Wives & Daughters,” which is currently casting, and a script order for a television adaptation of “Varsity Blues.”
“Shaleen is equal parts creative and strategist; bringing diverse pedigree to the brand,” said Dinsmore. “He’s a welcome addition to our growing development team and will play a critical role in positioning CMT as a home for premium scripted programming.”
Shaleen joins CMT from Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, where he served as the Executive Vice President, Television overseeing the first-look deal with Universal Television and selling pilots/series to NBC, FOX and Netflix. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President at Fishbowl Worldwide Media where he ran the scripted department, selling pilots to FOX, NBC, ABC, TBS, HBO, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, ABC Family, MTV, TRU, Animal Planet and VH1. Desai was formally VP of Programming at BBC Worldwide and was one of the founding executives of 20th Century Fox’s cable arm, fox21. Desai also worked for David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and served as a Producer for “The Late, Late Show.”
Desai grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs and currently lives in Studio City with wife Stephanie and son, Dylan. He proudly attended the University of Arizona.