Monday, 27 June 2016

MTV2's Last Summer

This summer will be bittersweet for MTV2, because Wild 'N Out, the flagship show that they revived, is moving back home to MTV, and its taking the sophomore series - Kingin' with Tyga and Joking Off - with it.

Let's face it, until Wild 'N Out came along, nobody gave a crap about MTV2. As MTV became the youth entertainment juggernaut it is now, MTV2 was supposed to be the network where all of their music programming went. Fast forward to 2012: MTV2 has become a skeleton network. The five hours of music videos shoved into the early morning graveyard slots are the only actual music-related programming on what is otherwise a sitcom rerun farm. Sure, Guy Code debuted in 2011, and quickly became MTV2's flagship original, but the only reason why it was the network's most-watched show was because it was on a network no one was watching.

When Wild 'N Out was revived in 2013, it breathed new life into MTV2. Suddenly, a slew of new and interesting original shows appeared. Sure, most of them never lasted a year, and some of them weren't even that good, but it was better than nothing. Scratch that, it was better than the Saved by the Bell reruns. Not since the days of Wonder Showzen and Crank Yankers has MTV2 aired shows that were fun to watch, and maybe even more fun to make. They were the Disney XD to MTV's Disney Channel - different demographic, way better shows.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. With Wild 'N Out back in the mix, and MTV in the midst of a reinvention, Viacom pulled the trigger. Not only was Wild 'N Out moving back to their old stomping grounds, the network were it all began, but it was taking MTV2's other successful shows with it. With MTV also dipping their toes back into music television, with the rerun of Unplugged among other new shows, the coming months look to once again redefine MTV as a youth entertainment brand.

But in doing so, MTV2 will once again become little more than the black sheep of music-based television. Sure, Uncommon Sense might be your idea of late-night TV, but can the same really be said about Binge Drinking? Can MTV2's new "remixed" originals - Wild 'N On Tour & Guy Code vs Girl Code - reach the hype that their parent shows did? If they don't, MTV2 will be written off as another reason to scale back your cable package or the ditch the cord altogether.

With MTV Jams now realigned with BET Networks, VH1 seemingly ditching their video blocks (I'm Canadian, I can only learn so much about American networks from my personal experiences, my research, and Zap2it listings), and new competition in "Nuvo Fuse" and Revolt, it would make sense for Viacom to re-purpose MTV2 as their alternative music network, as well as a hangout for young men. With all the shake-ups and revamps across Viacom's other networks, it seems like a possibility.

After all, guys need their MTV two.

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