What Happened to MTV?

Written by: Jason Garoutte

MTV logo

Updated MTV logo

In 2010, when MTV dropped the slogan “Music Television” from underneath their renowned logo, they finally got something right. The original purpose of MTV was to be “Music Television”, playing music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but the famous cable music channel hasn’t been the same since the dawn of the reality show sensation.

In the year 2000, MTV aired 36.5 percent fewer music videos than they did in 1995. In the year 2000 MTV still managed to air upwards of eight hours of music videos per day. By 2008, that number dropped to just three hours of air time for the music videos that MTV was so famous for a decade ago.

To fill the air time, MTV decided to introduce reality based shows like “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.” For those unfamiliar with the show, it was similar to “The Bachelorette” where male contestants vied for Tila’s “love”. Since she is a bisexual, female contestants also competed for her attention, which was the subject of much criticism.

Another show that has acquired more controversy than it can handle is “Jersey Shore.” This show brings eight young adults into one home on the Jersey shore to watch them experience the drama that comes with living together, including fights, drinking, sex, and enough crazy antics to deem it a reality show.

These reality shows cross a fine line when it comes to defining true life reality, especially when MTV’s targeted audience are adolescent teenagers. The President of MTV, Van Toeffler explained, “Clearly, the novelty of just showing music videos has worn off. It’s required us to reinvent ourselves to a contemporary audience.”

Why are these kinds of shows so popular on the air? What is a contemporary audience and how is it that Snooki & JWoww appeal to that contemporary audience? Why does MTV need to reinvent themselves if its original purpose was to air music videos? And why are parents allowing their children to view this kind of entertainment? These are questions that deserve answers, and nobody seems to know the answers.

Some people believe reality shows such as these are appealing because it allows the audience to feel as if they’re participating vice being spectators. Americans have a fascination, a morbid curiosity if you will, for tales of self-destruction and MTV provides that. Yet others believe the script-less programming allows the audience to feel that the show is happening in real time. Another reason for the appeal may be the fact that viewers witness the lives of screwed up individuals and realize their problems and daily life routine aren’t as bad as what they are witnessing on television.

If MTV continues to air these reality based shows and not bring back music videos like their name suggests, perhaps they should consider changing their name to RTV (Reality Television) and alter their entire logo.


Dr. House Vanishes from Fox TV Lineup after Eight Seasons

Dr. House

Hugh Laurie - Dr. House

Written by: Chawonza Nash, February 8, 2012

House the night time medical drama will vanish this season after its eight year run on Fox Broadcasting. British actor Hugh Laurie the show’s executive producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs painful choice to bring House to a close was made based on rising costs and declining ratings. In a statement made Wednesday both Laurie and producers wanted Dr. House’s character as an enigmatic creature to quietly vanish in an air of mystique.

Laurie’s sarcastic yet spirited character has for eight years pushed moral and ethical envelopes challenging mentee doctors to analytically diagnose patients that had questionable and complex medical conditions.
He and co-stars gave audiences a front seat view into the medical diagnostic process investigating and dissecting environmental or genetic factors that contributed to their patients’ conditions. He’s the doctor audiences tune in to watch having both contempt and admiration for his brilliance.

House will have aired 177 episodes by April, about 175 more than originally predicted in 2004.

Departure of the drama will impact cast members Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spencer, Jennifer Morrison, Peter Jacobson, Olivia Wilde, Kal Penn, Amber Tambylyn, Odette Annable and latest newcomer Charlyne Yi, along with a host of supporting crew members.

Cast member Omar Epps said on his Facebook page Wednesday, “This experience has been simply incredible!” Thanking committed die-hard fans for watching the show.

Of course viewers and fans worldwide will be impacted by the departure of House from Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television; however there is always show syndication for passionate die-hard viewers.

Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said,

“While it’s with much regret, and a lump in our throats, we respect the decision Hugh, David and Katie have made. A true original, on the page and amazingly brought to life by Hugh Laurie, there is only one Dr. House. For eight seasons, the entire HOUSE team has given us – and fans around the world – some of the most compelling characters and affecting stories ever seen on television. They have been creatively tenacious and collaborative throughout this incredible run, and they are amongst the most superior talents in the business. For all the above, we wholeheartedly thank them, and the fans who have supported the show.”

While the drama may end leaving an air of mystique behind the departure of Laurie’s main character, audiences are left with the ever familiar Dr. House adage, “Everybody lies.” Dare audiences hope that this is also true of House?

The Office Spinoff: More Moes and Beets Could Signal End of Series

Dwight carrying the weight of a spinoff

Can Dwight Schrute and his proud family tradition carry the weight of a spinoff?

On Wednesday, Deadline.com began the rumor mill by announcing that NBC was considering an Office spinoff starring Dwight, Schrute farms, beets and the whole Schrute family. The show would be slated to begin sometime in midseason of 2013.

According to Deadline, the genesis of the spinoff started with actor Rainn Wilson and Office executive producer Paul Lieberstein (a.k.a Toby). A Deadline source is quoted as saying, “Paul and Rainn have been joking for years about Dwight’s life on the farm, his family and how ill-suited he is to run a B&B. A while ago, it started to feel like a show to them. NBC agreed, it’s been further developed to include multiple generations, many cousins and neighbors. At its base it will be about a family farm struggling to survive and a family trying to stay together.”

Considering the poor track history of TV spinoffs (think JoeyThe Brady BridesBaywatch Nights), the proposal may initially come as a bit of a surprise. In fact, can you name even one or two spinoffs that went on to become successful? However, The Office has been one of NBC’s great pickups. Winning an Emmy in 2006 for best comedy series, and still drawing more than 6 million viewers per week in its eighth season, The Office has become the staple brand of  NBC.

If the spinoff is indeed in the works, it could signal for this to be the final season of the network’s prime-time draw. With Rainn, hypothetically, leaving to start the spinoff, and Ed Helms, John Krasinksi and Mindy Kaling all unsigned for next season, this could be the end of NBC’s most successful show. Could the show possibly continue without Andy, Jim, Kelly and possibly others? Doubtful. And as critics have opined, it may be for the best. After Steve Carell’s departure, the remaining core characters, and an infused James Spader as Sabre CEO, have been unable to save the show’s ratings from declining.

TV shows rarely last as long as The Office. For every Friends (10 seasons) and Cheers (11) there are dozens of shows that barely make it to a third season (wishfully hoping Whitney falls into this category), let alone past the pilot. And for those that do enjoy a long running voyage, few end with their dignity and ratings still intact (see Smallville). So, whether or not the spinoff becomes a hit with the 18 -49 demographic that has sustained Jim, Pam and Dwight’s long run, perhaps it’s all for the best.


Adventure Time Animated Series to Start New Season Jan. 16

Written By: Catherine Wolinski

Finn and Jake fans, get ready to reenter the Land of Ooo. Adventure Time, the critically acclaimed animated series on Cartoon Network, will begin airing new episodes next week—the young television show embarks on its fourth season on Monday, Jan. 16.

Finn and Jake frrom Adventure Time

Jake the Dog and Finn the Human fist-pump a victory.

What’s not to love about a heroic boy and his magical dog taking on quests throughout a mystical land of monsters and bubblegum?  Some might say there are a few things, but they risk being refuted. Though passed up twice by Nickelodeon in 2008, Adventure Time (originally titled Adventure Time with Finn and Jake) was picked up by Cartoon Network later that year, to begin airing in April 2010. Nearly two years later, the adventurous television series continues to win the hearts of many. The PG series has garnered a cult following that captures children and adults alike, along with commercial success, award nominations, and praise from critics.

“Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be,” says D.F., a critic from Entertainment Weekly.

This remark holds quite a truth to it—viewers are constantly in awe of the surrealist scenes, electric soundtrack, and bizarre characters, all of which are inhuman and range from gremlin to Berry Princess. Although it is primarily a kids program, chock full of colorful landscapes, lighthearted escapades, and goofy facial expressions, the show as a whole is

Finn kicks the Ice King in a shot of Adventure Time

Finn kicks away evil as he defeats the Ice King.

far from simple or childish. Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward uses a unique style to communicate a sense of magic in a post-apocalyptic world, a setting which tends to include punchy subject matter that far surpasses the cognitive awareness of its target audience. Finn, presumed to be the only human left, employs himself as a hero of the various worlds within the Land of Ooo, fighting evil and boredom as he goes from adventure to adventure with his sidekick Jake. While it is true that Finn and Jake are most often concerned with the safety of various princesses, they are also faced with dark situations, like the lonely Ice King who tries to capture and marry said princesses though he looks to be a much older man.

According to television critic Robert Lloyd, Adventure Time exhibits “a fantastical land peopled with strange, somewhat disturbing characters and has at its center a young male person or person-like thing making his way in that world with the help of unusual, not always reliable, mentors.”

Both disconcerting and delightful, Adventure Time proves that our interaction with the world can be far from ordinary.  For those looking for weeknight television adventures, tune in to Cartoon Network this January.