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Rob Dyrdek Pitched Ridiculousness And MTV Bought It On The Spot

When Rob Dyrdek started puttering around on a skateboard at age 11, he couldn't have imagined that he would be skating professionally within a few short years. Even more improbable, however, is that Dyrdek would be able to parlay his skateboarding fame into a reality TV empire. In 2006, "Rob & Big" premiered on MTV, ushering in an era of Dyrdek dominance on the network. When that series ended in 2008, Dyrdek followed it up with "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory" between 2009 and 2015. "Ridiculousness" arrived in 2011, and the clip show remains MTV's reigning cash cow.

Behind Dyrdek's on-camera charm and affinity for harebrained stunts is an unmistakably savvy businessman. In addition to his own series, Dyrdek is the executive producer of countless other programs, and he launched his business venture studio Dyrdek Machine in 2016. MTV must have recognized that business savvy when Dyrdek pitched them the idea for "Ridiculousness."

Dyrdek cited America's Funniest Home Videos in his elevator pitch

"Ridiculousness" may have premiered in 2011, but Rob Dyrdek began cooking up the show during his "Rob & Big" days. "That's when I originally sold [MTV] 'Ridiculousness' — during the third season of 'Rob & Big,'" Dyrdek said on the "Trading Secrets" podcast. For Dyrdek, the premise of "America's Funniest Home Videos" (plus its lucrative returns) was his creative and economic lodestar. "I was like, 'I'm gonna make the faster, cooler version of that.' And that's all we did. When we did the first pitch, we just took 'America's Funniest Home Videos,' took out all the fat, and then I stood in there with the pitch with an Xbox controller." The pitch was convincing, and MTV immediately bought the show.

For Dyrdek, the real dividends came once he began negotiating his contract, the terms of which included full integration rights. "Since I wrote every episode and completely produced and controlled the show, I could now write entire storylines around businesses and products and companies," Dyrdek explained. "Basically every episode was an integrated story around a company I owned or a company I did a partnership for to be in the show." Dyrdek's proto-spon-con approach has certainly worked out, as "Ridiculousness" has reached its 30th season.