To say that MTV has gone through a whirlwind ride in the last 30 years is an understatement. Going through the incredible decade that was the 80s with tons of music videos and crazy hairstyles to the 90s with colorfully wacky clothing and hip-hop experiencing its golden age. It then entered the 2000s with yet another reinvention, and it was its most ambitious–and most controversial–one yet. The network that once branded itself as “Music Television” began to air more non-musical programming, beginning with The Real World in 1992, which is running today, and was just renewed for its 26th and 27th seasons. For many, the nail in the coffin for its commitment to programming related to music was when its long-running music video countdown series Total Request Live (TRL) aired its final episode back in 2008. The official burial of MTV as a Music Television channel was when it cut off the “Music Television” part of its logo, marking the end of an era, and a new one filled with reality shows about pregnant teens and partying twenty-somethings at the Jersey Shore.
I’m not saying that this is a bad thing for MTV, but this can’t possibly be sustained in the long run. When it aired music videos, it had a core audience for it, and the viewers knew what to expect. MTV is running more like a broadcast network these days, picking up and cancelling original content and seeing what us teens would find interesting. Unfortunately, the guys making these decisions are middle-aged fat guys with no sense of what is actually popular. The only way they can make this work is if they get someone young and that young person knows what their doing at that particular time in the world of teens. If that means hiring a head of the network every few years, so be it, but Snooki and “The Situation can’t and won’t be on MTV forever. Aside from all my medium-ranting, MTV should be comended for stretching what was a small unknown group of young adults who where looking for their fifteen minutes to a blockbuster franchise that has been on for nearly four seasons and counting. Like I’ve mentioned before, they’re doing well, and I’m very happy with where MTV’s at, and where it could go. 30 years and still going strong.
Happy Birthday, MTV!