Video Hits One. The sister channel to MTV
, launched in 1985 and also owned by Viacom.
Whereas MTV was focusing on the teenagers and young adults, VH-1 was initially its older-skewing counterpart and came into being primarily to compete with Turner Broadcasting's Cable Music Channel (which shut down before VH-1 signed on, and wound up being replaced with it). Thus, VH-1 became the home of adult contemporary artists like Kenny G
, Mariah Carey
, Anita Baker, et cetera, playing their videos on infinite loop, which had all of the appeal of your average Lite FM station.
In The Nineties
, like MTV, it started moving away from music videos, but still played lots of them, and even dipped into videos, music shows, and films from The Sixties
and The Seventies
. By the end of the decade, it started skewing a bit younger, courting recently lapsed MTV viewers among its new audience. Notable series during this period were Pop Up Video
, which put visual commentary on a music video, explaining various lyrics and other things, and Behind the Music
, which gave fans a look into the personal lives of many popular and long-standing musicians most of the time, though it also examined music-related events of a particular year in some episodes. A spinoff, Behind the Music 2
, focused on groups that hadn't been around long enough to warrant an hour-long episode.
At the Turn of the Millennium
the channel's focus turned to general pop culture, In particular, the I Love the...
series was extremely popular, covering the 1980s
thrice, the 1970s
thrice, the 1990s twice, and even the Turn of the Millennium
itself in 2008! From this success, the channel started to focus on pop culture-related reality shows. Unlike MTV's focus on teen culture, VH-1 focuses on washed-up celebrities, giving such figures as Hulk Hogan
, Danny Bonaduce, Flavor Flav
, and Christopher Knight a second swing at stardom. It usually works... the season finale of Flavor of Love
, Flavor Flav's show, attracted 6 million viewers.
In The New Tens
the network's focus seems to be the budding entertainment center of Atlanta
, with several programs revolving around music (the Love and Hip Hop
franchise) or sports and entertainment figures' wives (Basketball Wives
and Baseball Wives
). The network has also had a couple of original dramatic series and even a few made-for-TV movies
, usually of the Biopic
Like MTV, it's not what it once was, but it's still popular. Unlike
MTV, it still plays music videos in the daytime... for now.
VH-1 has launched four spinoff channels to date.
- VH-1 Country — Now known as CMT Pure Country, it primarily focuses on videos, as does...
- VH-1 Soul — Specializes in soul and R&B videos from The Eighties onward.
- VH-1 Mega Hits — A defunct channel which mainly ran the format VH-1 had at the beginning, acting as a 24/7 video network playing '80's, '90's and current music. Ratings were never compelling, so Viacom closed down the channel in the summer of 2005 and used their satellite space to launch LOGO.
- VH-1 Classic — Its format is similar to its parent channel's lineup in the second half of The Nineties — daytime music video blocks featuring videos from The Seventies through The Nineties, reruns of their various documentary shows (Behind the Music even gets some of its episodes updated as Behind the Music Remastered), lots of vintage concerts and (usually) music-themed movies, plus a few comedy reruns (Married... with Children is their favorite) in non-prime time hours. It also has a growing lineup of original shows and specials, primarily focused on Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Tellingly, they were the one channel in the MTV family to acknowledge the parent channel's 30th anniversary in 2011 by programming a whole weekend of classic segments and promos.