On August 1, MTV will be re-branding VH1 Classic as MTV Classic. Currently, VH1 Classic mainly airs concert footage, music, and programming based off of the 1970s to the 1980s.
MTV Classic will focus primarily on music and television programming aired on the channel from the 1990s to the 2000s. Such programming includes Beavis and Butthead, Daria, and an immense library of music videos.
MTV was a pioneer in music television. The first music video aired on it was Video Killed The Radio Star by the Buggles. Video Killed The Radio Star was also the first official music video to air on television as a whole.
The launch date is a nod to the day that the channel originally launched on August 1, 1981. Viewers will be able to experience the launch of the new network in real time through their cable provider and Facebook Live.
The channel has been scrutinized for years over the changes in their programming. The transition from music videos to reality television mixed with fervent 1990’s nostalgia has caused some bitter feelings towards the network.
Even IFC’s Portlandia got in on the MTV hate bandwagon. The sketch featured Portlandia regulars teaming up with MTV alumni to “take back” the network.
MTV is not the first network to try to appeal to the nostalgic 1990s audience. Nickelodeon began airing a programming block called The 90s Are All That on July 25, 2011. This block featured television shows from the 1990s that includes Rugrats, Keenan and Kel, and Hey Arnold.
Cartoon Network brought back their Toonami programming block in 2012. Toonami originally aired from 1997 to 2008 and featured anime like Dragon Ball Z and Cowboy Bebop. Currently, Toonami is an Adult Swim programming block aimed for a more mature audience.
MTV Classic appears to be aiming for this same kind of audience. As of August 1, fans of the 1990s and early 2000s will have another way to feed their nostalgic appetite.