Vulture buddy Nikki Finke was the first to break the news that Brian Graden, the president of entertainment of the MTV music channels group, has decided to step down from his position sometime early next year, when his current contract expires. The Viacom rumor mill had been buzzing about this news for the last few months, but it’s still sort of surprising to us that the official announcement came so early, especially when you consider that he’s now been reduced to lame-duck status for at least the next six months. Graden made his name in the late nineties when he took over responsibilities for programming at MTV; during his twelve-plus-year reign, he took some shit from music fans and record labels for effectively removing the “M” from MTV, but he was also responsible for shepherding some of the most successful shows in the history of the channel, including The Osbournes, Jackass, TRL, and Laguna Beach. He was promoted to his current position back in 2004, when, in addition to his role at MTV, he assumed responsibility for VH1, CMT, and Logo. HR is reporting that Graden will likely stay in the Viacom fold by way of a producing deal, but also that his position will not be replaced. Our only hope is that MTV decides to reinvest the $7 million that Graden was reportedly pocketing annually into producing some shows that aren’t total crap.