He began working in television, ultimately becoming an executive at FOX, during which time he saw Trey Parker and Matt Stone's animated short film 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, became well known online and among celebrities and college students. He later helped Parker and Stone develop the animation into the series South Park.
Graden is the former President of Programming at MTV, VH1, CMT, and the LGBT channel, Logo, the launch of which he assisted in. 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.