- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath is stepping down from the company she helped turn into a pop culture icon in the three decades since she began working there as a copywriter.

McGrath, 58, is moving on “at the very top of the game with a legacy of success that stretches from the earliest days of cable television,” said Philippe Dauman, the president and CEO of Viacom Inc., which owns MTV, in a statement.

McGrath, who was named the CEO and chairwoman of MTV Networks in 2004, has led it back from the brink of irrelevancy just a few years ago. MTV has enjoyed a resurgence in the past couple of years thanks in large part to wildly popular “Jersey Shore” along with other well-watched shows such as “16 and Pregnant.”

“I leave with pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime. I especially thank my friends and colleagues on the senior team, who will continue to lead a kick-ass organization,” McGrath said. “They have my respect and affection, always.”

MTV has managed to stick around even after its young audience flocked to the Internet for entertainment and started watching music videos on tiny smart phone screens and grainy YouTube videos.

Many of its shows push the envelope, tackling tough subjects even as they entertain. And the company has invested a lot of money painstaking research into figuring out just what it is the kids want these days.

Viacom did not say what McGrath plans to do after her departure and did not give a reason for why she is leaving. She will not be replaced. Instead, executives in charge of MTV’s operating units will report directly to Dauman.

In addition to the iconic Music Television Channel, MTV Networks is also home to Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, VH1 and others.

McGrath joined MTV in 1981, the year it launched.



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