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?

How ‘Glee’ Is Effectively Kicking Musical Theaters’ Already Lifeless Body

Written by: Kaitlyn Burkhart

Sorry music, this one's gonna hurt.

It seems as if the death of the arts has been the latest trend, from Katy Perry and Kanye West slaughtering any integrity that the music industry had left, the Twilight series bringing a marked end to literature as we know it, and ‘innovated, recolored, enhanced, revamped, IN 3D NOW’ Frankensteins of Disney classics both hitting us in the childhood and any aspiring screenwriters’ right in their creative little hearts. No exception to the rule, Theater has been quietly slipping away into something-that-Seniors-do-on-Sundays, or the novelty off-Broadway rendition of Wicked that is rolling through your closest venue that you desperately have to see because it’s SUCH AN AMAZING SHOW.

It doesn’t surprise me that the general public believes that the good musical theater that’s around now is Spiderman: The Musical or American Idiot, it’s what they’ve been conditioned to believe. With the absence of any groundbreaking shows, the classics are lost to all but those who truly love the art itself, and the ones that can appeal to a teen-novel sort of audience are thrown up on front pages around the US in a last ditch attempt to reiterate that ‘Yes, you can relate to Musical Theater, see!? She’s flying, this is WAY better than your flat screen HDMI whatchamacallit!’

Perhaps the worst clamor for attention by the Theater community was to attempt the adaptation from stage to TV, in the form of a show supposed to trail-blaze the way for tolerance, the arts, and musical theater itself. The beginning was a fairly harmless, humourless, brainless sort of stretched out music video, including the computer processed voices, that wasn’t going to bother you with making you think, known as Glee. People ate it up, they absolutely loved it.

And then it happened.

The critics hailed them as having been the thing that held the heart of Musical Theater everywhere, and was making it applicable to the masses. And then Glee tried to take itself seriously.

Dear God, why?

The end result was the Industry presenting the public with a washed out, plot-less television show that began slowly ruining great classics by ‘modernizing’ (running them through Lea Michele’s voice which is actually a computer), glamorized stereotypes and calling it ‘The New Musical Theatre’. And even with the Arts community essentially crying ‘Uncle!’, Glee keeps on rolling, having, in it’s three season run, desecrated the sanctity that was Michael Jackson, completely removed any artistic integrity from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and made Barbara Streisand look less like one of Theatres’ most talented women and more like a Disney Princess to be adored for her shoes or Prince.

The way Glee is representing Musical Theater to the masses is an insult to every person who has ever set foot on a stage, had to make it in an auditorium on their own vocal cords, ever spent days delving into the mind of a character with the hope of maybe beginning to understand, or slaved over any technical end of a production. Theater is an art that can adapt with the times, and has, and should not be left dead in the hands of Hollywood.

Why is Joss Whedon’s Firefly So Popular?


The cast of Joss Whedon's Firefly

The cast of Firefly pose for a group photoshoot on set

Written by: Katie Garren

Quick! Try and think of a television show for 2002 that only lasted one season.  If you answered “Joss Whedon’s Firefly, of course!” you would be among the many throngs of fans that particular show has maintained since its debut.  The fact that a geeky television show from nine years ago still maintains an almost religious following, despite only having produced 14 episodes and a companion movie, boggles the mind.  Why is this show so popular, even after cancellation?  What makes it different from the legions of other television shows that have come and gone before it?

Firefly maintains a high margin of popularity due largely to it’s wonderful interweaving of science-fiction elements and character-driven story lines.  Because of these elements, the show speaks to many different subsets of society, not just those who are drawn to science-fiction, but also fans of traditional dramas and comedies.

The show’s star, Nathan Fillion, has many times commented on the continued love the show experiences from fans.  Speaking to Entertainment Weekly on a fan-lead campaign to bring the show back to the air, he said, “I appreciate so much people who still have such love for it. And I think that that’s love.” Fillion later continued, “I think it touches people in their hearts. It makes them feel, and it makes them feel something good. I feel it, too.” This love is not specific only to actual people, but also referenced in current television shows.  In a recent episode of the hugely popular The Big Bang Theory, a character named Sheldon is laying out an agreement for a new roommate.  He says, “Roommates agree that Friday nights shall be reserved for watching Joss Whedon’s brilliant new series Firefly.” His roommate, Leonard counters, “Does that really need to be in the agreement?” Sheldon’s rebutal is, “We might as well settle it now; it’s gonna be on for years.”  This is designed to both create humor from the fact the show lasted only one season, and create a relationship between the characters and the viewer based on a mutal understanding of Firefly.  Another popular current show called Community has also made reference to Firefly.  While the characters on the show are discussing death, A character names Troy states that he and his best friend Abed have a pact that, if one of them dies, they will stage it to look like a suicide caused by the unjust cancelling of Firefly.  He then looks at his friend and says, “We’re gonna get that show back on the air, buddy.”  Both these references speak to a continued love for Firefly.  As far as nine years later, people are still dedicated to the show and incensed by its cancellation.

Part of the appeal of the show is also based on the quality of the scripts.  “So it was always great,” said Fillion in the same interview quoted above. “There was never a day I went to work on Firefly where I looked at the script and went, ‘Eh, today will be alright.’ Everyday I was doing something so great. So great.” Viewers and fans can relate to the characters and story lines on the show, because the scripts were always related to the human experience.  The situations were always truthful and the performances never seemed as though they were forced from the actors.  In essence, the show was honest with its viewers.

Joss Whedon’s Firefly remains massively popular for many reasons.  For a show that only produced 14 episodes and a movie, it has touched many lives.  The basis of the show’s popularity lies in the easily relatable storylines paired with science-fiction elements and the high quality of both of those elements.

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.


Google’s New Frontier For Conquer? TV


Google is taking another tremendous leap toward its apparent aim of becoming the central portal to not only the internet, but all of sedentary life.

Futurists have long predicted the melding of television with the internet, the world’s number one time suck and its No. 2 (which is which varies depending on who you ask). Others have tried it, but so far no one I know has an internet TV, and especially not one that fully combines the two in a way that fulfills the potential as foretold by tech soothsayers. It’s still inevitable.

I lived more than half my life without the internet, and I wouldn’t dream of it now. Today’s kids already get most of their video entertainment from the internet, and television isn’t about get e-victimized like newspapers.

It’s just a matter of who would do it, when and how. Well who else would it be but Google? And when is a better time to start than now? And how else but by making some smart partnerships with the technological experts that could bring it all together?

Google, Logitech, Intel and Sony have come together to make TVs “smart” (think: evolution of cell phones). This wave of the future is set to come out in the fall in U.S. Best Buy stores. The rest of the world will have to wait. No price has been set. There is no timeline for when Google will take over the world.