Dance Moms Season 4 Episode 8 Assignments Synonyms

This article is about the film. For the television series based on the film, see Napoleon Dynamite (TV series). For the singer, see Elvis Costello.

Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 American comedy film produced by Jeremy Coon, Chris Wyatt, Sean C. Covel and Jory Weitz, written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and directed by Jared Hess. The film stars Jon Heder in the role of the title character, for which he was paid $1,000. After the film's runaway success, Heder re-negotiated his compensation and received a cut of the profits. The film was Jared Hess' first full-length feature and is partially adapted from his earlier short film, Peluca. Napoleon Dynamite was acquired at the Sundance Film Festival by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Paramount Pictures, in association with MTV Films. It was filmed in and near Franklin County, Idaho in the summer of 2003. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004. The film's total worldwide gross revenue was $46,118,097.[2] The film has since developed a cult following.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

Napoleon Dynamite is a socially awkward 16-year-old boy from Preston, Idaho, who lives with his older brother, Kipling Ronald "Kip" Dynamite. Kip, 32, is unemployed and boasts of spending hours in Internet chat rooms with his girlfriends and aspiring to be a cage fighter. Napoleon daydreams his way through school, doodling ligers and fantasy creatures, and reluctantly deals with the various bullies who torment him, particularly the obnoxious sports jock, Don. Napoleon likes to make up stories about himself and his outlandish "skills", while having a sullen and aloof attitude.

Napoleon's grandmother breaks her coccyx in a quad-bike accident and asks their Uncle Rico to look after the boys while she recovers. Rico, a middle-aged and flirtatious steak-loving former athlete who lives in a campervan, treats Napoleon like a child. He uses the visiting opportunity to team up with Kip in a get-rich-quick scheme to sell numerous items door-to-door. Kip wants money to visit his Internet girlfriend LaFawnduh while Rico believes riches will help him get over his failed dreams of NFL stardom and his recent breakup with his girlfriend.

Napoleon becomes friends with two students at his school: Deb, a shy girl who runs various small businesses to raise money for college; and Pedro, a bold yet calm transfer student from Juarez, Mexico. A friendship soon develops between the three outcasts. During this time, preparations begin for the high school dance. Pedro first asks Summer Wheatley to be his dance partner, a popular and snobby girl, but is rebuffed. He then asks Deb, who accepts happily. Pedro encourages an upset Napoleon to find a date for himself, and he picks an attractive classmate called Trisha from the school yearbook. As a gift, he draws a bad picture of her and delivers it to Trisha's mother, who is incidentally a customer of Rico. Rico tells embarrassing stories about Napoleon to evoke sympathy from her. She buys the goods and also forces Trisha to reluctantly accept Napoleon's request.

At the dance, Trisha is cold and abandons Napoleon immediately. Pedro and Napoleon share dances with Deb. It is clear that Deb is infatuated with Napoleon.

Inspired by an election poster at the dance, Pedro decides to run for class president, putting him against Summer. The two factions put up flyers and give out accessories to the students to attract voters. In an attempt to increase their respect by demonstrating "skills", Napoleon and Pedro enter a Future Farmers of America competition, grading milk and cow udders. They do well and win medals, but this does little for their popularity. Incidentally, Napoleon visits an op-shop and buys a dance instructional VHS called "D-Qwon's Dance Grooves", becoming a skillful dancer.

Kip, meanwhile, is head-over-heels in love since LaFawnduh has come to visit him from Detroit. She gives Kip an urban makeover, outfitting him in hip-hop regalia. Seeing that he dances, LaFawnduh also gives Napoleon a mixtape.

Rico's ongoing scheme causes friction with Napoleon as he continues to spread embarrassing rumors about him to his prospective customers. Rico later tries to sell Deb a breast-enhancement product, claiming it was Napoleon's suggestion, which causes her to break off their friendship. His scheme ends when he visits the wife of the town's martial arts instructor, Rex, to try and sell her the breast enhancements; Rex walks in and beats him up after witnessing Rico's demonstration.

On the day of the class president elections, Summer gives a speech before the student body, and then presents a dance skit with a school club. Pedro and Napoleon then discover that a skit was also required from them, and a despondent Pedro gives an unimpressive speech. In an attempt to save Pedro's campaign, Napoleon gives the sound engineer LaFawnduh's tape, and spontaneously performs an elaborate dance routine to "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai. Summer and her boyfriend Don are unimpressed, but the routine receives a standing ovation from all the other students, including Deb.

The film concludes with Pedro becoming the class president, LaFawnduh leaving with Kip on a bus for Michigan, Rico reuniting with his estranged girlfriend, Grandma returning from the hospital, and Napoleon and Deb making up and playing tetherball.

In a post-credits scene, Kip and LaFawnduh are married in an outdoor ceremony in Preston. Napoleon, absent for the vows, arrives riding a horse, claiming that it is a "wild honeymoon stallion" that he has tamed himself. Kip flicks LaFawnduh's garter as a "keepsake" towards Napoleon, Pedro and Rico (who catches it), before he and LaFawnduh ride off across the fields.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

Origins[edit]

See also: Peluca

Jon Heder and Jared Hess were both students at the film program at Brigham Young University in 2002 and decided to collaborate together on a class project. The duo produced a 9 minute short film shot on black-and-white16mm film entitled Peluca, about a nerdy high school student named Seth, for a class assignment.[5]

We went up to Preston and shot the short film over two days in black and white. We knew that we wanted to do a feature — we'd already started writing a script for what would become Napoleon at that point — but we wanted to do a short film on the character to bring him to life. It was for a class assignment, and we were still trying to figure out the best way to end it.

Peluca was shown at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival[6] and was well received. Jeremy Coon, who was the brother of a good friend of Hess's in film school, convinced Hess to drop out of school and adapt it into a feature-length film, and helped him find investors for the project.[7]

Hess sent the short film along with the script to a variety of different casting directors; many of whom thought the film idea was "too weird or they just didn't like the character. They were like, 'The script's funny, but I think you need to recast this guy with somebody else,'" Hess explained.[5]

Production[edit]

Hess describes the film as being "so autobiographical."[5] "I grew up in a family of six boys in Preston, Idaho and the character of Napoleon was a hybrid of all the most nerdy and awkward parts of me and my brothers growing up. Jerusha really was like Deb growing up. Her mom made her a dress when she was going to a middle school dance and she said, 'I hadn't really developed yet, so my mom overcompensated and made some very large, fluffy shoulders." Some guy dancing with her patted the sleeves and actually said, 'I like your sleeves…they’re real big,"' Hess said in an interview with Rolling Stone.[5]

Hess shot the film on location in Preston, located in Southeastern Idaho, located near the Utah border, in July of 2003. Operating on a tight budget of $400,000, Hess cast many of his friends from school, including Heder and Aaron Ruell, and relied on the generosity of Preston locals who provided housing and food to crew members.[8]

"It was very, very hot," Hess recalls. "But it was so much fun being in this rural farm town making a movie. We shot it in 23 days, so we were moving very, very fast; I just didn't have a lot of film to be able to do a lot of takes. It was a bunch of friends getting together to make a movie. It was like, "Are people going to get this? Is it working?"[5]

The film is set during the 2004-2005 school year, as shown on Napoleon's student ID card in the title sequence.[9][10] However, the film contains a number of anachronisms indicating that it would be more appropriately set in the 1980s or 1990s. For example, Deb wears a side ponytail and Napoleon wears Moon Boots, both popular fashion trends of the 1980s.[10] One scene is set at a school dance which only plays 1980s music such as Alphaville's "Forever Young," while a later scene features students performing a sign language rendition of "The Rose" sung by Bette Midler.[9] Much of the technology in the film is also archaic; Napoleon uses a VCR and Walkmancassette player, Kip connects to the Internet via a pay-per-minute dial-up connection and Uncle Rico drives a 1975 Dodge Tradesman.[10][11] That said, the song Napoleon Dynamite dances to at the end of the film--Canned Heat by Jamiroquai--came out in 1999.

Opening sequence[edit]

The film was originally made without opening titles; audiences at test screenings were confused about when the film was set. Eight months after the film was completed, the title sequence was filmed in the cinematographer's basement.[12]Aaron Ruell, who played Kip, suggested the idea of the title sequence. The sequence shows a pair of hands placing and removing several objects on a table. Objects like plates of food had the credits written in condiments, while other objects like a Lemonheads box or a tube of ChapStick had the credits printed on them. Hess explains:

We actually had Jon Heder placing all the objects in and out [of frame], and then showed it to Searchlight who really liked it and thought it was great, but some lady over there was like "There are some hangnails, or something — the hands look kinda gross! It's really bothering me, can we re-shoot some of those? We'll send you guys a hand model." We were like "WHAT?!". This, of course, was my first interaction with a studio at all, so they flew out a hand model a couple weeks later, who had great hands, but was five or six shades darker than Jon Heder. So we reshot, but they're now intermixed, so if you look there are like three different dudes' hands (our producer's are in there too). It all worked out great, though, and was a lot of fun.[12]

Origin of the name "Napoleon Dynamite"[edit]

Upon the film's release, it was noted that the name "Napoleon Dynamite" had originally been used by musician Elvis Costello, most visibly on his 1986 album Blood & Chocolate,[13][14] although he had used the pseudonym on a single B-side as early as 1982.[15] Filmmaker Jared Hess states that he was not aware of Costello's use of the name until two days before the end of shooting, when he was informed by a teenage extra.[16] He later said, "Had I known that name was used by anybody else prior to shooting the whole film, it definitely would have been changed ... I listen to hip-hop, dude. It's a pretty embarrassing coincidence."[16] Hess claims that "Napoleon Dynamite" was the name of a man he met around 2000 on the streets of Cicero, Illinois, while doing missionary work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[17][18]

Costello believes that Hess got the name from him, whether directly or indirectly. Costello said, "The guy just denies completely that I made the name up ... but I invented it. Maybe somebody told him the name and he truly feels that he came about it by chance. But it's two words that you're never going to hear together."[19]

Lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures[edit]

On August 30, 2011, Napoleon Pictures filed a lawsuit against Fox Searchlight for $10 million for underreporting royalties and taking improper revenue deductions. In its term sheet, Fox agreed to pay 31.66% of net profits on home video. The lawsuit says that a 2008 audit revealed that Fox was only paying net royalties on home videos at a 9.66% rate, and there were underreported royalties and improper deductions.[20]

Napoleon Pictures also alleges that Fox has breached the agreement in multiple other respects, including underreporting pay television license fees, failing to report electronic sell-through revenue, charging residuals on home video sales, as well as overcharging residuals on home video sales, deducting a number of costs and charges Fox has no right to deduct and/or for which there is no supporting documentation.[20]

In May 2012, Fox went to trial after failing to win a summary judgment on the case. The trial began on June 19, 2012.[21] On November 28, 2012, a 74-page decision sided with Fox on 9 of the 11 issues. Napoleon Pictures was awarded $150,000 based on Fox accounting irregularities.[22]

Release[edit]

Napoleon Dynamite premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2004 and was theatrically released on June 11, 2004 in the United States by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Pictures and MTV Films.

Home media[edit]

Napoleon Dynamite was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 2004 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in North America and by Paramount Home Entertainment in all other territories.

Reception[edit]

Critical response and box office[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 71% of 170 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy."[23]Rolling Stone magazine complimented the film, saying, "Hess and his terrific cast — Heder is geek perfection — make their own kind of deadpan hilarity. You'll laugh till it hurts. Sweet."[24] The Christian Science Monitor called the film "a refreshing new take on the overused teen-comedy genre" and said that the film "may not make you laugh out loud — it's too sly and subtle for that — but it will have you smiling every minute, and often grinning widely at its weirded-out charm."[25]

Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice praised the film as "an epic, magisterially observed pastiche on all-American geekhood, flooring the competition with a petulant shove."[26] In a mixed review, The New York Times praised Heder's performance and the "film's most interesting quality, which is its stubborn, confident, altogether weird individuality", while criticizing the film's resolution that comes "too easily."[27] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film one-and-a-half stars, writing that he felt that "the movie makes no attempt to make [Napoleon] likable" and that it contained "a kind of studied stupidity that sometimes passes as humor".[28] At the time, Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C-.[29]Entertainment Weekly later ranked Napoleon #88 on its 2010 list of The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years, saying, "A high school misfit found a sweet spot, tapping into our inner dork."[30] The film was on several year-end lists. Rolling Stone placed it at number 22 of the 25 Top DVDs of 2004.[31]

The term "The Napoleon Dynamite Problem" has been used to describe the phenomenon where "quirky" films such as Napoleon Dynamite, Lost in Translation and I Heart Huckabees prove difficult for researchers to create algorithms that are able to predict whether or not a particular viewer will like the film based on their ratings of previously viewed films.[32] Despite a very limited initial release, Napoleon Dynamite was a commercial success. It was filmed on an estimated budget of a mere $400,000, and less than a year after its release, it had grossed $44,940,956. It also spawned a slew of merchandise, from refrigerator magnets to T-shirts to Halloween costumes.

Recently[when?], some people have begun to celebrate the movie during the Christmas season.

Awards[edit]

  • Best Feature Film at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival the same year. The film's budget was only $400,000. When the film rights were sold to a major distributor, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox supplied additional funds for the post-credits scene.
  • In 2005, the film — itself an MTV Films production — won three MTV Movie Awards, for Breakthrough Male Performance, Best Musical Performance, and Best Movie. The film is #14 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
  • It won the 2005 Golden Trailer Awards for Best Comedy.
  • It won the 2005 Golden Satellite Award for Best Original Score (John Swihart).
  • Four awards at the Teen Choice Awards. Choice Movie: Female Breakout Star for Haylie Duff, Choice Movie: Dance Scene, Choice Movie: Hissy Fit for Jon Heder, and Choice Movie: Comedy.
  • The 2004 Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Feature
  • April 2005, the Idaho Legislature approved a resolution commending the filmmakers for producing Napoleon Dynamite, specifically enumerating the benefits the movie has brought to Idaho, as well as for showcasing various aspects of Idaho's culture and economy.[33][34]

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Napoleon Dynamite original soundtrack

Animated series[edit]

Main article: Napoleon Dynamite (TV series)

In April 2010, Fox announced that an animated series was in development. It was also revealed that the entire original cast would return to reprise their roles.[35] The series debuted on Sunday, January 15, 2012. Director Jared Hess, his co-screenwriter wife Jerusha, and Mike Scully are the producers of the show, in association with 20th Century Fox Television.[36] On May 14, 2012, It was announced that Fox had canceled the series after 6 episodes.[37] The complete series was released on DVD on November 4, 2014 by Olive Films.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

The cast of Napoleon Dynamite.
The characters of the animated series.
  1. ^ ab"Napoleon Dynamite (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  2. ^"Napoleon Dynamite - Box Office Data, DVD Sales, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  3. ^"How 'Napoleon Dynamite' Became A Cultural Phenomenon (And Then Reached Critical Mass)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  4. ^"The New Cult Canon: Napoleon Dynamite". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  5. ^ abcdeWood, Jennifer (2014-08-28). "Here There Be Ligers: An Oral History of Napoleon Dynamite". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  6. ^"Slamdance Official Website Archive". Sundance. Retrieved September 15, 2008. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^Vice, Jeff (2004-07-02). "Playing with 'Dynamite': BYU student hits the big time with his first movie". Deseret News. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  8. ^"Napoleon Dynamite: Sweet skills". Idaho Press. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  9. ^ ab"Napoleon Dynamite (2004) Movie Review". BeyondHollywood.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  10. ^ abcLyle, Jason Garrett (2008). Social Outcast Cinema: Generic Evolution and Identification in Early 21st Century Teen Film. Regent University. p. 71. ISBN 9780549518389. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  11. ^Ingrassia, Bob (October 4, 2010). "Land of 10,000 Lakes ... and Uncle Rico's van from "Napoleon Dynamite"". Fast Horse. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  12. ^ ab"A Q&A with director Jared Hess". Art of the Title Sequence. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  13. ^"Blood And Chocolate (reissue) - Elvis Costello And The Attractions". The Elvis Costello Home Page. 
  14. ^"Napoleon Dynamite (2004)". 
  15. ^"The Elvis Costello Home Page". Elviscostello.info. 1982-07-23. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  16. ^ abStereogum article: "Napoleon Dynamite Vs. Elvis Costello".
  17. ^Willman, Chris (July 16, 2004). "Did Napoleon Dynamite Borrow Elvis' Alias?". Entertainment Weekly. 
  18. ^"In 'Napoleon Dynamite,' Nerdity Without Shame". Washington Post. June 20, 2004. 
  19. ^Contact Music article: "Costello Adamant Napoleon Dynamite Was His Idea".
  20. ^ ab"'Napoleon Dynamite' Producers Sue Fox Searchlight for $10 Million in Profits". Hollywood Reporter. 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  21. ^"Fox Stands Trial in $10 Million 'Napoleon Dynamite' Case". Hollywood Reporter. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  22. ^"'Napoleon Dynamite' Lawsuit: Fox Wins Major Ruling". Hollywoodreporter.com. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  23. ^"Napoleon Dynamite". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  24. ^Travers, Peter (June 24, 2004), "Napoleon Dynamite (Film)". Rolling Stone. (951):186
  25. ^Sterritt, David (June 11, 2004), "Revenge of the (Idaho) nerd in 'Napoleon Dynamite'". Christian Science Monitor. 96 (138)
  26. ^Michael Atkinson (June 1, 2004). "Deadpan Walking. Welcome to the droll house: American geek hood finds a new icon in a clueless Idaho teen". Village Voice. 
  27. ^SCOTT, A. O. (June 11, 2004), "FILM REVIEW; A Nerdy Nobody of a Hero Who Proves to Be Napoleonic." New York Times. :15
  28. ^"Reviews :: Napoleon Dynamite". rogerebert.com. Chicago Sun Times. 
  29. ^Schwarzbaum, Lisa (June 18, 2004), "NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (Film)". Entertainment Weekly. (770):60-63
  30. ^(June 4, 2010), "88. NAPOLEON DYNAMITE". Entertainment Weekly. (1105/1106):90
  31. ^(November 25, 2004), "Napoleon Dynamite (Film)". Rolling Stone (962):82
  32. ^Thompson, Chris (21 November 2008). "If You Liked This, You're Sure to Love That". New York Times. 
  33. ^"Idaho's resolution commending Jared and Jerusha Hess". Archived from the original on January 1, 2006. Retrieved 2005-12-26. 
  34. ^"Text of A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION STATING LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND COMMENDING JARED AND JERUSHA HESS AND THE CITY OF PRESTON FOR THE PRODUCTION OF THE MOVIE "NAPOLEON DYNAMITE."". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. 
  35. ^"Fox Developing Napoleon Dynamite Animated Television Series". /Film. 
  36. ^Gorman, Bill (October 17, 2010). "Fox Announces Animated Comedies 'Napoleon Dynamite' & 'Allen Gregory' For Next Season". The Futon Critic. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  37. ^"'Napoleon Dynamite' Canceled, 'Bob's Burgers' Renewed By Fox - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  38. ^Lambert, David. "Napoleon Dynamite - Olive Films Announces 'The Complete Animated Series' on DVD". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 

This article is about the main MTV channel. For other channels related to MTV, see List of MTV channels. For other uses, see MTV (disambiguation).

MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable and satellite televisionchannel owned by Viacom Media Networks (a division of Viacom) and headquartered in New York City.

Launched on August 1, 1981,[2] the channel originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs).[3] At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students. MTV has toned down its music video programming significantly in recent years, and its programming now consists mainly of original reality, comedy and drama programming and some off-network syndicated programs and films, with limited music video programming in off-peak time periods. It has also become involved in promoting left-wing political issues and progressive social causes. The network received criticism towards this change of focus, both by certain segments of its audience and musicians. MTV's influence on its audience, including issues involving censorship and social activism, has also been a subject of debate for several years.

In recent years, MTV had struggled with the secular decline of music-related cable media. Its ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers increasingly shift towards digital media, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29%; thus there was doubt of the lasting relevance of MTV towards young audiences.[4][5][6] In April 2016, MTV announced it would start to return to its original music roots with the reintroduction of the classic MTV series MTV Unplugged. After nine years off air, TRL returned on October 2, 2017.[7]

MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the US and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent, with approximately 90.6 million American households in the United States receiving MTV as of January 2016.[8]

History[edit]

Previous concepts (1964–1977)[edit]

See also: Music video § History and development

Several earlier concepts for music video-based television programming had been around since the early 1960s. The Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s. The creative use of music videos within their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, particularly the performance of the song "Can't Buy Me Love", led MTV later on June 26, 1999, to honor the film's director Richard Lester with an award for "basically inventing the music video".[9]

In his book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio", where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music. CBS rejected the idea, but Williams premiered his own musical composition "Classical Gas" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he was head writer. In 1970, Philadelphia-based disc jockeyBob Whitney created The Now Explosion, a television series filmed in Atlanta and broadcast in syndication to other local television stations throughout the United States. The series featured promotional clips from various popular artists, but was canceled by its distributor in 1971. Several music programs originating outside of the US, including Australia's Countdown and the United Kingdom's Top of the Pops, which had initially aired music videos in lieu of performances from artists who were not available to perform live, began to feature them regularly by the mid-1970s.

In 1974, Gary Van Haas, vice president of Televak Corporation, introduced a concept to distribute a music video channel to record stores across the United States, and promoted the channel, named Music Video TV, to distributors and retailers in a May 1974 issue of Billboard.[10][11] The channel, which featured video disc jockeys, signed a deal with US Cable in 1978 to expand its audience from retail to cable television. The service was no longer active by the time MTV launched in 1981.

Pre-history (1977–1981)[edit]

In 1977, Warner Cable a division of Warner Communications and the precursor of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment launched the first two-way interactive cable television system named QUBE in Columbus, Ohio. The QUBE system offered many specialized channels. One of these specialized channels was Sight on Sound, a music channel that featured concert footage and music-oriented television programs. With the interactive QUBE service, viewers could vote for their favorite songs and artists.

The original programming format of MTV was created by media executive Robert W. Pittman, who later became president and chief executive officer (CEO) of MTV Networks.[12] Pittman had test-driven the music format by producing and hosting a 15-minute show, Album Tracks, on New York City television station WNBC-TV in the late 1970s.

Pittman's boss Warner-Amex executive vice president John Lack had shepherded PopClips, a television series created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, whose attention had turned to the music video format in the late 1970s.[13] The inspiration for PopClips came from a similar program on New Zealand's TVNZ network named Radio with Pictures, which premiered in 1976. The concept itself had been in the works since 1966, when major record companies began supplying the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation with promotional music clips to play on the air at no charge. Few artists made the long trip to New Zealand to appear live.

Launch[edit]

Further information: First music videos aired on MTV

On Saturday, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 am Eastern Time,[14][15] MTV launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," spoken by John Lack and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia (which took place earlier that year) and of the launch of Apollo 11. Those words were immediately followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching rock tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over the American flag changed to show MTV's logo changing into various textures and designs. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a concept;[16] Seibert said that they had originally planned to use Neil Armstrong's "One small step" quote, but lawyers said that Armstrong owned his name and likeness and that he had refused, so the quote was replaced with a beeping sound.[17] A shortened version of the shuttle launch ID ran at the top of every hour in various forms, from MTV's first day until it was pulled in early 1986 in the wake of the Challenger disaster.[18]

The first music video shown on MTV was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star", originally only available to homes in New Jersey.[19] This was followed by the video for Pat Benatar's "You Better Run". Sporadically, the screen would go black when an employee at MTV inserted a tape into a VCR.[20] MTV's lower third graphics that appeared near the beginning and end of music videos would eventually use the recognizable Kabel typeface for about 25 years. But these graphics differed on MTV's first day of broadcast; they were set in a different typeface and included information such as the year and record label name.

As programming chief, Robert W. Pittman recruited and managed a team for the launch that included Tom Freston (who succeeded Pittman as CEO of MTV Networks), Fred Seibert, John Sykes, Carolyn Baker (original head of talent and acquisition),[21] Marshall Cohen (original head of research),[22] Gail Sparrow (of talent and acquisition), Sue Steinberg (executive producer),[23] Julian Goldberg, Steve Lawrence, Geoff Bolton; studio producers and MTV News writers/associate producers Liz Nealon, Nancy LaPook and Robin Zorn; Steve Casey (creator of the name "MTV" and its first program director),[24] Marcy Brafman, Ronald E. "Buzz" Brindle, and Robert Morton. Kenneth M. Miller is credited as being the first technical director to officially launch MTV from its New York City-based network operations facility.[24]

MTV's effect was immediate in areas where the new music video channel was carried. Within two months, record stores in areas where MTV was available were selling music that local radio stations were not playing, such as Men at Work, Bow Wow Wow and the Human League.[25] MTV sparked the Second British Invasion, with British acts, who had been accustomed to using music videos for half a decade, featuring heavily on the channel.[26][27]

Original VJs and format (1981–1994)[edit]

Further information: List of MTV VJs

The original purpose of MTV was to be "music television", playing music videos 24 hours a day and seven days a week, guided by on-air personalities known as VJs, or video jockeys. The original slogans of the channel were "You'll never look at music the same way again", and "On cable. In stereo."

MTV's earliest format was modeled after AOR (album-oriented rock) radio; MTV would transition to mimic a full Top 40 station in 1984. Fresh-faced young men and women were hired to host the channel's programming and to introduce music videos that were being played. The term VJ was coined, which was a play on the initialism DJ (disc jockey). Many VJs eventually became celebrities in their own right. The original five MTV VJs in 1981 were Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn.[28]

The VJs would record intro and outro voiceovers before broadcast, along with music news, interviews, concert dates and promotions. These segments would appear to air live and debut across the MTV program schedule 24 hours a day and seven days a week, although the segments themselves were pre-taped within a regular work week at MTV's studios.[29]

The early music videos that made up the bulk of MTV's programming in the 1980s were promotional videos (or "promos", a term that originated in the United Kingdom) that record companies had commissioned for international use or concert clips from any available sources.

Rock bands and performers of the 1980s who had airplay on MTV ranged from new wave to hard rock or heavy metal bands[30] such as Adam Ant, Bryan Adams, Blondie, Eurythmics,[31]Culture Club,[32]Mötley Crüe, Split Enz, Prince, Ultravox, Duran Duran,[33]Van Halen,[34]Bon Jovi, RATT,[35]Def Leppard,[36]The Police, and The Cars. The channel also rotated the music videos of "Weird Al" Yankovic, who made a career out of parodying other artists' videos.[37] MTV also aired several specials by "Weird Al" in the 1980s and 1990s under the title Al TV.

MTV also played classic rock acts from the 1980s and earlier decades, including David Bowie, Dire Straits (whose 1985 song and video "Money for Nothing" both referenced MTV and also included the slogan "I want my MTV" in its lyrics), Journey, Rush, Linda Ronstadt, Genesis, Billy Squier, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Moody Blues, John Mellencamp, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, Rod Stewart, The Who, and ZZ Top; newly solo acts such as Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, David Lee Roth, and Pete Townshend; supergroup acts such as Asia, The Power Station, Yes, The Firm, and Traveling Wilburys, as well as forgotten acts such as Michael Stanley Band, Shoes, Blotto, Ph.D., Rockpile, Bootcamp, Silicon Teens and Taxxi. The hard rock band Kiss publicly appeared without their trademark makeup for the first time on MTV in 1983. The first country-music video aired on MTV was "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton, which first aired on MTV in 1981.

During the early days of the channel, MTV would occasionally let other stars take over the channel within an hour as "guest VJs"; these guests included musicians such as Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Phil Collins, Simon LeBon, and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, Tina Turner; and comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, and Steven Wright; as they chose their favorite music videos.

The 1983 film Flashdance was the first film in which its promoters excerpted musical segments from it and supplied them to MTV as music videos, which the channel then aired in regular rotation.[38]

In addition to bringing lesser-known artists into view, MTV was instrumental in adding to the booming eighties dance wave. Videos' budgets increased, and artists began to add fully choreographed dance sections. Michael Jackson's music became synonymous with dance. In addition to learning the lyrics, fans also learned his choreography so they could dance along. Madonna capitalized on dance in her videos, using classically trained jazz and break-dancers. Along with extensive costuming and make-up, Duran Duran used tribal elements, pulled from Dunham technique, in "The Wild Boys", and Kate Bush used a modern dance duet in "Running Up That Hill". MTV brought more than music into public view, it added to the ever-growing resurgence of dance in the early 1980s that has carried through to today.

In 1984, more record companies and artists began making video clips for their music than in the past, realizing the popularity of MTV and the growing medium. In keeping with the influx of videos, MTV announced changes to its playlists in the November 3, 1984, issue of Billboard magazine, that would take effect the following week. The playlist categories would be expanded to seven, from three (light, medium, heavy); including New, Light, Breakout, Medium, Active, Heavy and Power. This would ensure artists with hit records on the charts would be get the exposure they deserved, with Medium being a home for the established hits still on the climb up to the top 10; and Heavy being a home for the big hits – without the bells and whistles – just the exposure they commanded.[39]

In 1985, MTV spearheaded a safe-sex initiative as a response to the AIDS epidemic that continues to influence sexual health currently. In this light, MTV pushed teens to pay more attention to safe-sex because they were most likely more willing to hear this message from MTV than their parents. This showed that MTV was not always influencing youth negatively. Even though in other aspects, MTV was provocative, they had this campaign to showcase their positive influence on youths and safe sex – a campaign that still is alive today: "Its Your Sex Life".[40]

Breaking the "color barrier" (1981–1983)[edit]

During MTV's first few years on the air, very few black artists were included in rotation on the channel. The select few who were in MTV's rotation were Michael Jackson, Prince, Eddy Grant, Donna Summer, Joan Armatrading, Musical Youth, and Herbie Hancock. The very first people of color to perform on MTV was the British band The Specials, which featured an integrated line-up of white and black musicians and vocalists. The Specials' video "Rat Race" was played as the 58th video on the station's first day of broadcasting.[41]

MTV rejected other black artists' videos, such as Rick James' "Super Freak", because they did not fit the channel's carefully selected album-oriented rock format at the time. The exclusion enraged James; he publicly advocated the addition of more black artists' videos on the channel. Rock legend David Bowie also questioned MTV's lack of black artists during an on-air interview with VJ Mark Goodman in 1983.[42] MTV's original head of talent and acquisition, Carolyn B. Baker, who was black, had questioned why the definition of music had to be so narrow, as had a few others outside the network. "The party line at MTV was that we weren't playing black music because of the 'research'", said Baker years later. "But the research was based on ignorance ... we were young, we were cutting edge. We didn't have to be on the cutting edge of racism." Nevertheless, it was Baker who had personally rejected Rick James' video for Super Freak "because there were half-naked women in it, and it was a piece of crap. As a black woman, I did not want that representing my people as the first black video on MTV."[43]

The network's director of music programming, Buzz Brindle, told an interviewer in 2006, "MTV was originally designed to be a rock music channel. It was difficult for MTV to find African American artists whose music fit the channel's format that leaned toward rock at the outset." Writers Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum noted that the channel "aired videos by plenty of white artists who didn't play rock." Andrew Goodwin later wrote, "[MTV] denied racism, on the grounds that it merely followed the rules of the rock business."[44] MTV senior executive vice president Les Garland complained decades later, "The worst thing was that 'racism' bullshit ... there were hardly any videos being made by black artists. Record companies weren't funding them. They never got charged with racism." However, critics of that defense pointed out that record companies were not funding videos for black artists because they knew that they would have difficulty persuading MTV to play them.[45]

Before 1983, Michael Jackson also struggled to receive airtime on MTV.[46] To resolve the struggle and finally "break the color barrier", the president of CBS Records at the time, Walter Yetnikoff, denounced MTV in a strong, profane statement, threatening to take away MTV's ability to play any of the record label's music videos.[46][47] However, Les Garland, then acquisitions head, said he decided to air Jackson's "Billie Jean" video without pressure from CBS.[42] This was contradicted by CBS head of Business Affairs David Benjamin in Vanity Fair.[17]

According to The Austin Chronicle, Jackson's video for the song "Billie Jean" was "the video that broke the color barrier, even though the channel itself was responsible for erecting that barrier in the first place."[48] But change was not immediate. "Billie Jean" was not added to MTV's "medium rotation" playlist (two to three airings per day) until after it had already reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the final week of March, it was in "heavy rotation", one week before the MTV debut of Jackson's "Beat It" video. Prince's "Little Red Corvette" joined both videos in heavy rotation at the end of April. At the beginning of June "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant, would join "Billie Jean" which was still in heavy rotation until mid June. At the end of August "She Works Hard for the Money" by Donna Summer was in heavy rotation on the channel. Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" would be placed in heavy rotation at the end of October and the beginning of November respectively. In final week of November Donna Summer's "Unconditional Love" would be in heavy rotation. When Jackson's elaborate video for "Thriller" was released late in the year, which raised the ambition bar for what a video could be, the network's support for it was total; subsequently more pop and R&B videos were played on MTV.[49]

Regardless of the timeline, many black artists had their videos played in "heavy" rotation the following year (1984). Along with Herbie Hancock, Prince, Donna Summer, other black artists such as Billy Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Ray Parker Jr, Rockwell, The Pointer Sisters, The Jacksons, Sheila E and Deniece Williams all had videos played in heavy rotation on MTV.

Eventually, videos from the emerging genre of rap and hip hop would also begin to enter rotation on MTV. A majority of the rap artists appearing on MTV in the mid-1980s' such as Run-DMC, The Fat Boys, Whodini, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys, were from the EastCoast.

Video Music Awards (1984–present)[edit]

Main article: MTV Video Music Awards

In 1984, the channel produced its first MTV Video Music Awards show, or VMAs. The first award show, in 1984, was punctuated by a live performance by Madonna of "Like A Virgin". The statuettes that are handed out at the Video Music Awards are of the MTV moonman, the channel's original image from its first broadcast in 1981. Presently, the Video Music Awards are MTV's most watched annual event.[50]

Special, annual events (1986–present)[edit]

Further information: List of MTV special events

MTV began its annual Spring Break coverage in 1986, setting up temporary operations in Daytona Beach, Florida, for a week in March, broadcasting live eight hours per day. "Spring break is a youth culture event", MTV's vice president Doug Herzog said at the time. "We wanted to be part of it for that reason. It makes good sense for us to come down and go live from the center of it, because obviously the people there are the kinds of people who watch MTV."[51] The channel's coverage featured numerous live performances from artists and bands on location. The annual tradition would continue into the 2000s, when it would become de-emphasized and handed off to mtvU, the spin-off channel of MTV targeted at college campuses.

The channel would later expand its beach-themed events to the summer, dedicating most of each summer season to broadcasting live from a beach house at various locations away from New York City, eventually leading to channel-wide branding throughout the summer in the 1990s and early 2000s such as Motel California, Summer Share, Isle of MTV, SoCal Summer, Summer in the Keys, and Shore Thing. MTV VJs would host blocks of music videos, interview artists and bands, and introduce live performances and other programs from the beach house location each summer.[52] In the 2000s, as the channel reduced its airtime for music videos and eliminated much of its in-house programming, its annual summer-long events came to an end.

MTV would also hold week-long music events that would take over the presentation of the channel. Examples from the 1990s and 2000s include All Access Week, a week in the summer dedicated to live concerts and festivals; Spankin' New Music Week, a week in the fall dedicated to brand new music videos; and week-long specials that culminated in a particular live event, such as Wanna be a VJ and the Video Music Awards.[53]

At the end of each year, MTV takes advantage of its home location in New York City to broadcast live coverage on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Several live music performances are featured alongside interviews with artists and bands that were influential throughout the year. For many years from the 1980s to the 2000s, the channel upheld a tradition of having a band perform a cover song at midnight immediately following the beginning of the new year.[54]

Live concert broadcasts (1985–2005)[edit]

Throughout its history, MTV has covered global benefit concert series live. For most of July 13, 1985, MTV showed the Live Aid concerts, held in London and Philadelphia and organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. While the ABC network showed only selected highlights during primetime, MTV broadcast 16 hours of coverage.[55]

Along with VH1, MTV broadcast the Live 8 concerts, a series of concerts set in the G8 states and South Africa, on July 2, 2005.[56] Live 8 preceded the 31st G8 summit and the 20th anniversary of Live Aid. MTV drew heavy criticism for its coverage of Live 8. The network cut to commercials, VJ commentary, or other performances during performances. Complaints surfaced on the Internet over MTV interrupting the reunion of Pink Floyd.[57] In response, MTV president Van Toeffler stated that he wanted to broadcast highlights from every venue of Live 8 on MTV and VH1, and clarified that network hosts talked over performances only in transition to commercials, informative segments or other musical performances.[58] Toeffler acknowledged that "MTV should not have placed such a high priority on showing so many acts, at the expense of airing complete sets by key artists."[57] He also blamed the Pink Floyd interruption on a mandatory cable affiliate break.[58] MTV averaged 1.4 million viewers for its original July 2 broadcast of Live 8.[57] Consequently, MTV and VH1 aired five hours of uninterrupted Live 8 coverage on July 9, with each channel airing different blocks of artists.[59]

Formatted music series (1986–2008)[edit]

Further information: List of MTV music programs

MTV had debuted Dial MTV in 1986, a daily top ten music video countdown show for which viewers could call the toll-free telephone number 1-800-DIAL-MTV to request a music video. The show would be replaced by MTV Most Wanted in 1991, which ran until 1996, and later saw a spiritual successor in Total Request Live. The phone number remained in use for video requests until 2006.

Also in 1986, the channel introduced 120 Minutes, a show that would feature low-rotation, alternative rock and other "underground" videos for the next 14 years on MTV and three additional years on sister channel MTV2. The program then became known as Subterranean on MTV2. Eight years later, on July 31, 2011, 120 Minutes was resurrected with Matt Pinfield taking over hosting duties once again and airing monthly on MTV2.

Another late night music video show was added in 1987, Headbangers Ball, which featured heavy metal music and news. Before its abrupt cancellation in 1995, it featured several hosts including Riki Rachtman and Adam Curry. A weekly block of music videos with the name Headbangers Ball aired from 2003 to 2011 on sister channel MTV2, before spending an additional two years as a web-only series on MTV2's website, until Headbangers Ball was discontinued once again in 2013.

In 1988, MTV debuted Yo! MTV Raps, a hip hop/rap formatted program. The program continued until August 1995. It was renamed to simply Yo! and aired as a one-hour program from 1995 to 1999. The concept was reintroduced as Direct Effect in 2000, which became Sucker Free in 2006 and was cancelled in 2008, after briefly celebrating the 20th anniversary of Yo! MTV Raps throughout the months of April and May 2008. Despite its cancellation on MTV, a weekly countdown of hip hop videos known as Sucker Free still airs on MTV2 through the present day.

In 1989, MTV began to premiere music-based specials such as MTV Unplugged, an acoustic performance show, which has featured dozens of acts as its guests and has remained active in numerous iterations on various platforms for over 20 years.

To further cater to the growing success of R&B, MTV introduced the weekly Fade to Black in the summer of 1991, which was hosted by Al B. Sure!. The show would be reformatted into the better known MTV Jams the following year, which incorporated mainstream hip-hop into the playlist. Bill Bellamy would become the new and ongoing host. The show became so successful it spawned its own Most Wanted spinoff titled Most Wanted Jams.

Rise of the directors (1990–1993)[edit]

By the early 1990s, MTV was playing a combination of pop-friendly hard rock acts, chart-topping metal and hard rock acts such as Metallica, Nirvana and Guns N' Roses, pop singers such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, 2 Unlimited, and New Kids on the Block, and R&B groups such as New Edition, En Vogue, Bell Biv Devoe, SWV, Tony Toni Tone, TLC and Boyz II Men, while introducing hit rappers Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. MTV progressively increased its airing of hip hop acts, such as LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa, Naughty By Nature, Onyx, MC Lyte, and Sir-Mix-A-Lot, and by 1993, the channel added West Coast rappers previously associated with gangsta rap, with a less pop-friendly sound, such as Tupac Shakur, Ice Cube, Warren G, Ice-T, Dr. Dre, Tone Loc, and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

To accompany the new sounds, a new form of music videos came about: more creative, funny, artistic, experimental, and technically accomplished than those in the 1980s. Several noted film directors got their start creating music videos. After pressure from the Music Video Production Association, MTV began listing the names of the videos' directors at the bottom of the credits by December 1992. As a result, MTV's viewers became familiar with the names of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, David Fincher, Mary Lambert, Samuel Bayer, Matt Mahurin, Mark Romanek, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Anton Corbijn, Mark Pellington, Tarsem, Hype Williams, Jake Scott, Jonathan Glazer, Marcus Nispel, F. Gary Gray, Jim Yukich, Russell Mulcahy, Steve Barron, Marty Callner, and Michael Bay, among others.

As the PBS series Frontline[60] explored, MTV was a driving force that catapulted music videos to a mainstream audience, turning music videos into an art form as well as a marketing machine that became beneficial to artists. Danny Goldberg, chairman and CEO of Artemis Records, said the following about the art of music videos: "I know when I worked with Nirvana, Kurt Cobain cared as much about the videos as he did about the records. He wrote the scripts for them, he was in the editing room, and they were part of his art. And I think they stand up as part of his art, and I think that's true of the great artists today. Not every artist is a great artist and not every video is a good video, but in general having it available as a tool, to me, adds to the business. And I wish there had been music videos in the heyday of The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. I think they would've added to their creative contribution, not subtracted from it."[61]

Alternative is mainstream (1991–1997)[edit]

Nirvana led a sweeping transition into the rise of alternative rock music on MTV in 1991 with their video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit". By late 1991 going into 1992, MTV began frequently airing videos from their heavily promoted "Buzz Bin", such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, PM Dawn, Arrested Development, Björk, and Gin Blossoms. MTV increased rotation of its weekly alternative music program 120 Minutes and added the daily Alternative Nation to play videos of these and other underground music acts. Subsequently, grunge and alternative rock had a rise in mainstream tastes, while 1980s-style glam bands and traditional rockers were phased out, with some exceptions such as Aerosmith and Tom Petty. Older acts such as R.E.M. and U2 remained relevant by making their music more experimental or unexpected.

They also played lots of hard rock acts such as Pantera, Death and other heavy/death metal acts at the time period.

In 1993, more hit alternative rock acts were on heavy rotation, such as Stone Temple Pilots, Soul Asylum, Rage Against the Machine, Marilyn Manson, Tool, Beck, Therapy?, Radiohead, and The Smashing Pumpkins. Other hit acts such as Weezer, Collective Soul, Blind Melon, The Cranberries, Bush, and Silverchair would follow in the next couple of years. Alternative bands that appeared on Beavis and Butt-Head included White Zombie.

By the next few years, 1994 through 1997, MTV began promoting new power pop acts, most successfully Green Day and The Offspring, and ska-rock acts such as No Doubt, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Sublime. Pop singers were added to the rotation with success as long as they were considered "alternative," such as Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Fiona Apple, and Sarah McLachlan.

Electronica and pop (1997–1999)[edit]

By 1997, MTV focused heavily on introducing electronica acts into the mainstream, adding them to its musical rotation, including The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Moby, Aphex Twin, Pendulum, Daft Punk, The Crystal Method, Butthole Surfers and Fatboy Slim. Some musicians who proceeded to experiment with electronica were still played on MTV including Madonna, U2, David Bowie, Radiohead, and Smashing Pumpkins. That year, MTV also attempted to introduce neo-swing bands, but they did not meet with much success.

However, in late 1997, MTV began shifting more progressively towards pop music, inspired by the success of the Spice Girls and the rise of boy bands in Europe. Between 1998 and 1999, MTV's musical content consisted heavily of videos of boy bands such as Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, as well as teen pop "princesses" such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lynda Thomas, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson. Airplay of rock, electronica, and alternative acts was reduced. Hip-hop music continued in heavy rotation, through the likes of Puff Daddy, Jermaine Dupri, Master P, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Lil' Kim, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, Eminem, Foxy Brown, Ja Rule, Nas, Timbaland, and their associates. R&B was also heavily represented with acts such as Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child, 702, Monica, and Brandy.

Return of the Rock (1997–2004)[edit]

Beginning in late 1997, MTV progressively reduced its airing of rock music videos, leading to the slogan among skeptics, "Rock is dead."[62] The facts that at the time rock music fans were less materialistic, and bought less music based on television suggestion, were cited as reasons that MTV abandoned its once staple music. MTV instead devoted its musical airtime mostly to pop and hip hop/R&B music. All rock-centric shows were eliminated and the rock-related categories of the Video Music Awards were pared down to one.

From this time until 2004, MTV made some periodic efforts to reintroduce pop rock music videos to the channel. By 1998 through 1999, the punk-rock band Blink-182 received regular airtime on MTV due in large part to their "All the Small Things" video that made fun of the boy bands that MTV was airing at the time. Meanwhile, some rock bands that were not receiving MTV support, such as Korn and Creed, continued to sell albums. Then, upon the release of Korn's rock/rap hybrid album Follow the Leader, MTV began playing Korn's videos "Got the Life" and "Freak on a Leash".

A band sponsored by Korn, Limp Bizkit, received airtime for its cover of George Michael's "Faith", which became a hit. Subsequently, MTV began airing more rap/rock hybrid acts, such as Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock. Some rock acts with more comical videos, such as Rob Zombie, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters, also received airtime.

In the fall of 1999, MTV announced a special Return of the Rock weekend,[63] in which new rock acts received airtime, after which a compilation album was released. System of a Down, Staind, Godsmack, Green Day, Incubus, Papa Roach, P.O.D., Sevendust, Powerman 5000, Slipknot, Kittie, Static X, and CKY were among the featured bands. These bands received some airtime on MTV and more so on MTV2, though both channels gave emphasis to the rock/rap acts.

By 2000, Sum 41, Linkin Park, Jimmy Eat World, Mudvayne, Cold, At the Drive-In, Alien Ant Farm, and other acts were added to the musical rotation. MTV also launched digital cable channel MTVX to play rock music videos exclusively, an experiment that lasted until 2002.[64] A daily music video program on MTV that carried the name Return of the Rock ran through early 2001, replaced by a successor, All Things Rock, from 2002 until 2004.

Total Request Live (1998–2008)[edit]

Main article: Total Request Live

Also by 1997, MTV was criticized heavily for not playing as many music videos as it had in the past. In response, MTV created four shows that centered on music videos: MTV Live, Total Request, Say What?, and 12 Angry Viewers. Also at this time, MTV introduced its new studios in Times Square.

A year later, in 1998, MTV merged Total Request and MTV Live into a live daily top ten countdown show, Total Request Live, which would become known as TRL (the original host being Carson Daly) and secure its place as the channel's unofficial flagship program. In the fall of 1999, a live studio audience was added to the show. By spring 2000, the countdown reached its peak. The program enjoyed success playing the top ten pop, rock, R&B, and hip hop music videos, and featuring live interviews with artists and celebrities.

From 1998 to 2001, MTV also aired several other music video programs from its studios in Times Square and on location at various beach-themed locations each summer. These programs included Say What? Karaoke, a game show hosted by Dave Holmes that evolved from Say What?, MTV's earlier program that ran the lyrics of music videos across the screen. TRL Wannabes aired from 1999 to 2000 and featured a selection of music videos that just missed the TRL top ten. VJ for a Day, hosted by Raymond Munns, continued this concept in early 2001. VJ for a Day was an extension of an annual event, Wanna be a VJ, which aired each spring from 1998 to 2000 to select a new VJ to host programs on MTV.

MTV also aired Hot Zone, hosted by Ananda Lewis, which featured pop music videos during the midday time period and was a casual alternative to TRL; it later became MTV Hits. Other programs were Direct Effect, Return of the Rock, MTV Jams, BeatSuite, MTV Soul, and blocks of music videos hosted by VJs simply called Music Television in the spirit of the channel's original purpose.

During the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, MTV suspended all of its programming, along with its sister cable channel VH1, and it began simulcasting coverage from CBS News (the news division of CBS), which was acquired by MTV parent Viacom two years earlier) until about 11:00 pm. ET that night. The channels then played a looped set of music videos without commercial interruption until an MTV News special edition of TRL aired on September 14, 2001.

In 2002, Carson Daly left MTV and TRL to pursue a late night talk show on NBC. After his departure, the relevance and impact of Total Request Live slowly diminished. TRL ultimately remained a part of MTV's regular program schedule for ten years. The series came to an end with a special finale episode, Total Finale Live, which aired November 16, 2008, and featured all the show's hosts from over the years, many special guests from the history of the show, and played its last music video, "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears.[65]

Milestones and specials (1999–2011)[edit]

Around 1999 through 2001, as MTV aired fewer music videos throughout the day, it regularly aired compilation specials from its then 20-year history to look back on its roots. An all-encompassing special, MTV Uncensored, premiered in 1999 and was later released as a book.[66][67]

MTV celebrated its 20th anniversary on August 1, 2001, beginning with a 12-hour long retrospective called MTV20: Buggles to Bizkit, which featured over 100 classic videos played chronologically, hosted by various VJs in reproductions of MTV's old studios. The day of programming culminated in a three-hour celebratory live event called MTV20: Live and Almost Legal, which was hosted by Carson Daly and featured numerous guests from MTV's history, including the original VJs from 1981. Various other related MTV20 specials aired in the months surrounding the event.

Janet Jackson became the inaugural honoree of the "mtvICON" award, "an annual recognition of artists who have made significant contributions to music, music video and pop culture while tremendously impacting the MTV generation."[68] Subsequent recipients included Aerosmith, Metallica and The Cure.

Five years later, on August 1, 2006, MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary. On their website, MTV.com, visitors could watch the very first hour of MTV, including airing the original promos and commercials from Mountain Dew, Atari, Chewels gum, and Jovan. Videos were also shown from The Buggles, Pat Benatar

MTV's original logo, used from August 1, 1981 to March 18, 2009. It is still used in other countries.

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