The problem, as it tended to be, was with music videos, which were synonymous with MTV but were no longer engaging its young audience the way they once had. Tom Freston and Judy McGrath, who ran the network and had been there since Neil Armstrong planted an MTV flag on the moon in 1981, had weathered this storm before through one programming sleight of hand after another, either by grouping videos into genre-specific blocks that platformed metal or rap or alternative rock, or by presenting an animated series in which two teenage dirtbags named Beavis and Butt-Head deconstructed videos, or by ghosting videos altogether and green-lighting the first reality-TV show, .
A recent study has shown that MTV's hit documentary series 16 and Pregnant and its Teen Mom spin-off have actually led to fewer births among teenagers, despite the controversy surrounding the show.
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The study, "Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV's 16 and Pregnant on Teen Childbearing," was by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Jan. 13, 2014.