November 12, 2013

Red Sox’s Ortiz to co-produce MTV show

The 30-episode weekly series set to begin next spring will meld pop culture and baseball.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — As if winning the World Series MVP wasn't enough, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is becoming a producer of his own MTV television show.

MTV Networks and Major League Baseball said Monday they are collaborating on a weekly 30-episode series that melds pop culture and baseball. Ortiz and Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen are both executive producers of the series, set to begin next spring around the start of the new season.

The untitled series will likely air on MTV2, which tends to have a higher proportion of male viewers than its sister station. It will be shot at the MLB Fan Cave, a facility built at an abandoned Tower Records store in Manhattan that has fan features, interactive elements and occasional pop music concerts.

MTV had expressed interest in Ortiz after seeing a fan cave feature depicting him walking through enemy territory in New York asking Yankee fans for a hug, said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president for business.

The fan cave hosts visits from Major League players. In its archive of video segments are ones featuring McCutchen doing a Tom Cruise impersonation, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano visiting a sick fan and a prank involving pitchers David Price and James Shields.

When MTV heard Ortiz described as the musical director of the Red Sox clubhouse, it was sold, said Stephen Friedman, MTV president. "That's gold for us," he said.

Ortiz has done more things for the fan cave than pretty much any player, Brosnan said. One of the biggest roles for him and McCutchen will be to encourage other players to get involved. Ortiz suggested that shouldn't be difficult.

"Players want to be musicians and musicians want to be players," he said. "So it's going to be pretty easy to get my friends in baseball to have fun on MTV."

Friedman said MTV viewers have plenty of interest in athletes; its old series "Cribs" frequently featured tours of over-the-top homes owned by pro sports figures.

"We're always looking for ways to connect our audience with the stars they revere and want a closer connection to," he said.

The show might discuss some things that are happening on the field, but that's not really the main purpose. Like the fan cave, the big idea is to promote the game and its players with a young generation, Brosnan said.

"Like any other business, cultivating new fans and customers is, was and always will be an imperative for baseball," he said.

MTV and baseball have also agreed to look for ways to spread content throughout other MTV shows and platforms, but no details are available on that yet.

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