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Brian Graden

Brian Graden

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Graden grew up in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1981. He graduated from Oral Roberts University
Oral Roberts University
Oral Roberts University , based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the United States, is an interdenominational, Charismatic Christian, comprehensive university with an enrollment of about 3,790 students from 49 U.S. states along with a significant number of international students from 70 countries...

 in 1985 with a degree in business
Business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

, and later graduated with an MBA
Master of Business Administration
The Master of Business Administration is a :master's degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA designation originated in the United States, emerging from the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought out...

 from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

.

He began working in television, ultimately becoming an executive at FOX
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

, during which time he saw Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Trey Parker is an American animator, screenwriter, director, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of the television series South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Matt Stone.Parker started his film career in 1992, making a holiday short...

 and Matt Stone
Matt Stone
Matthew Richard "Matt" Stone is an American screenwriter, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with creative partner and best friend, Trey Parker....

's animated short film Jesus vs Frosty
The Spirit of Christmas (short film)
The Spirit of Christmas is the name of two different animated short films made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are notable for being precursors to the animated series South Park. To differentiate the two, they are often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty and Jesus vs. Santa .- Jesus vs. Frosty...

. He commissioned them to make another film to give as a Christmas card to his friends. The film, The Spirit of Christmas
The Spirit of Christmas (short film)
The Spirit of Christmas is the name of two different animated short films made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are notable for being precursors to the animated series South Park. To differentiate the two, they are often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty and Jesus vs. Santa .- Jesus vs. Frosty...

, became well known online and among celebrities and college students. He later helped Parker and Stone develop the animation into the series South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

.

Graden is the former President of Programming at MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, VH1
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

, CMT
Country Music Television
Country Music Television, or CMT, is an American country music-oriented cable television network. Programming includes music videos, taped concerts, movies, biographies of country music stars, game shows, and reality programs...

, and the LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 channel, Logo
Logo (TV channel)
Logo is an American digital cable television channel owned by Viacom's MTV Networks division. Launched in June 2005, the channel's programs are geared towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community...

, which he assisted in the launch. He departed MTV Networks in late 2009.

In the April 2007 issue of Out Magazine he was ranked the number ten most powerful gay person in America. He has also been named one of the most influential executives in reality programming.

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