Recently, we brought you part one of our list of 15 facts about MTV. Now, we bring you part two, featuring eight more facts about the groundbreaking music television network, whose content influenced generations of music fans and continues to push boundaries beyond music.
Number Eight: ‘TRL’ Was MTV’s Longest Running Live Show
Total Request Live, which ran from 1998 until 2008, was one of MTV’s most popular shows, its longest running live show and its third longest running show, period. It has often been referred to as the channel’s “unofficial flagship program.” The show launched the careers of many pop artists, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Eminem, Aaliyah, and Korn, among others. TRL began losing steam when original host Carson Daly left for his late night gig, ushering in a rotating cast of VJs and an unstable time slot. The show ended in 2008 with its last video being Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time…”
Number Seven: MTV Did Not Celebrate Their 30th Anniversary
When the channel turned 20, they hosted an entire day of nostalgia, including the 12-hour special, MTV20: Buggles to Bizkit, and a three-hour live event called MTV20: Live and Almost Legal. For their 25th anniversary, they reproduced the entire first hour of MTV programming as a special on their website. However, in 2011, the station had already gotten so far away from their original, musical start, that they decided not to interrupt their programming.
Number Six: The First Non-Musical Program Was a Game Show
Remote Control debuted in 1987. A half game show, half comedy show, it centered around a game show being filmed in the host’s basement. It also featured a number of comedians in recurring roles, including a pre-SNL Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn, and Denis Leary.
Number Five: It Inspired a Generation
There have been instances where those who were growing up in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, generally referred to as Generation X, were being called the “MTV Generation.” For the most part, it was just meant as a way to unite a generation many pundits said had no “single unifying theme or experience.” MTV even used the phrase itself in 1991 for a documentary about Gen-Xers.
Number Four: They Had to Fight for Their Website
The channel has been online for quite a while. MTV.com was claimed by one of their VJs, with permission of the network, in 1993. However, when the VJ left the station, the station sued him to gain control of the site. They settled out of court.
Number Three: The Channel Launched the Careers of Several Comedians
As the channel was getting away from 24/7 music, they created a number of talk and comedy shows featuring as yet unknown comedians. Some of these shows included The Jon Stewart Show, The Ben Stiller Show (which also featured Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick and Bob Odenkirk), The Jenny McCarthy Show, The State (which featured David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Ken Marino and Tom Lennon), The Tom Green Show and Kathy’s So-Called Reality (featuring Kathy Griffin).
Number Two: They Tried to Revive Some of Their Old Shows
Banking on the latest wave of nostalgia, a number of MTV’s old shows were brought back in some capacity. Beavis and Butt-Head was revived for a season in 2011 to criticize a new wave of music videos. Matt Pinfield hosted a monthly version of 120 Minutes on MTV2 from 2011 until 2013. A version of Headbanger’s Ball became an online-only show in 2011, but it no longer exists. MTV Unplugged has come back a few times, but episodes are usually relegated to online content.
Number One: ‘Jersey Shore’ Is the Channel’s Highest-Rated Show
Even though the show ended its run in 2012, the show continues to be MTV’s biggest hit. During the show’s height, it raked in more than 10 million viewers. Thank you for reading our list of 15 facts about MTV. We hope you enjoyed it!