ABOUT Brian Graden Media
If producers were treated like TV stars, Brian Graden would be a household name. Instead, he’s happier making his impact behind the scenes, helping foster and develop some of the most forward-thinking and beloved programming of the last 30 years.
Brian’s life in entertainment starts way back in the southern Illinois basement where his high school band Ace Oxygen and the Ozones dreamed of rock and roll stardom in between hours-long sessions watching their heroes on MTV. The band’s own plans of musical fame and fortune didn’t quite work out, and after earning an MBA from Harvard, Brian set out for Los Angeles to get his start in television.
As an up-and-coming young producer, he found a perfect fit at the newly formed Fox network, working on the immeasurably influential COPS and America’s Most Wanted as VP of Program Development. In the course of scouting for new talent for Fox, he came upon two gifted young creators from Colorado, in whose crude animated shorts Brian saw the start of something amazing.
Fox passed on hiring Trey Parker and Matt Stone to develop a series, but a holiday video Brian Graden commissioned from the duo ended up “going viral” in the pre-Internet days. The Spirit of Christmas quickly became the talk of Hollywood, and when Comedy Central execs hired Parker and Stone to make South Park, one of the most successful shows in TV history was born. Four Emmys, a Peabody, and the AFI Award for Program of the Year later, it’s safe to say Brian was onto something.
Brian spent the first season as Executive Producer of the groundbreaking animated show he helped bring into existence, but Comedy Central wouldn’t be where Brian’s next major steps would land. The very first TV network that young Brian Graden fell in love with as an ambitious teenage keyboardist soon came calling. Neither TV history nor Brian’s life would ever be the same.
After leaving Comedy Central, Brian Graden ended up at MTV, where he was soon promoted to head of programming and set about redefining entertainment for a new generation. Under his guidance, trailblazing shows like Total Request Live, The Osbournes, Punk’d, Pimp My Ride, Jackass, Jersey Shore, and countless others brought unforgettable characters and stories to life. Brian eventually also led programming for sister networks VH1, MTV2, CMT, and co-created the LGBT-focused channel Logo.
After his days leading cable networks, it was time for a new chapter in Brian Graden’s story. 2013 saw the creation of Brian Graden Media (BGM), a full-service production company creating work for a variety of 21st-century media: a crack squad of musicians, fashionistas, artists, hikers, gamers, music festival junkies, debate geeks, and sports fanatics working together to create pro-social, WTF-inducing, LOL-generating pop culture programming at the intersection of linear and digital entertainment. In a career spent perpetually on the cutting edge, it only makes sense that Brian’s own shop would take that to a new level.
In today’s entertainment landscape, viewers are finding their favorite shows in more places than ever. Brian Graden Media’s programming can be found across the cable and streaming outlets where the most exciting work in visual entertainment is happening. From the Streamy Award-winning YouTube Original Escape the Night, to true crime doc The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway for Oxygen, to the Emmy-award winning Netflix show HitRECord, Brian Graden Media’s guiding principle is bringing great stories to wherever people are seeking them out, developing and delivering pilots for over 20 networks including BET, A&E, Disney Channel, Bravo, POP TV, and many others.
Brian Graden himself has been the recipient of numerous awards including the GLAAD Media Vito Russo Award for Excellence in Media, the EQCA Award for Commitment to Advancing LGBT Equality, and the Equality Forum’s Tom Stoddard National Role Model Award. While at MTV, he spearheaded the Fight for Your Rights campaign, informing and empowering young people of all backgrounds and orientations. Brian Graden Media were honored with the Thrive Tribe’s Media Award for advancing public awareness of HIV in an episode of Finding Prince Charming.
Through BGM, Brian Graden continues his life’s work of bringing unheralded, underseen, and incredibly compelling lives to the spotlight. He may not have become a famous rocker, but his producing star power will never be in doubt.