|Broadcast area||United States|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks (ViacomCBS)|
|Launched||August 1, 1996|
|Replaced||The Box (1985–2001)|
|Former names||M2 (1996–1999)|
|Available on most cable providers||Channel slots vary on each service|
|Dish Network||Channel 161 (SD)|
|DirecTV||Channel 332 (HD)|
|C-Band||AMC 18-Channel 231 (H2H 4DTV)|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 211 (SD)|
Channel 711 (HD)
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 504 (SD)|
Channel 1504 (HD)
|fuboTV, Philo, Sling TV, YouTube TV|
The channel launched initially as an all-music video service, once the original MTV had started to shift its programming. As with its parent network, MTV2's focus on music programming would gradually be downplayed during the 2000s. Since 2011, MTV2 has been targeting young adult men with original and acquired lifestyle and reality programming, reruns of male-targeting shows from MTV, acquired sitcoms and movies, and a daily block of hip hop and rock genre videos in the early mornings. Due to Viacom's 2017 restructuring plan, MTV2's original programs were moved over to the flagship MTV network, while the former network would drop its music video blocks in November of that year.
In February 2015, approximately 79,416,000 American households (68.2% of households with television) received MTV2.
MTV2 began broadcasting as simply M2 on August 1, 1996 – MTV's 15th anniversary – with Beck's "Where It's At" being the first video to air. In its first few years on the air, M2 was restricted to satellite television plus the few, small markets where digital cable was then available, limiting its audience reach to around 12 million homes by 2000. M2 also broadcast live over the internet during its early years, which meant it was similarly ahead of its time in a period when few people had broadband internet connections. Due in part to the unexpectedly slow roll-out of the fledgling channel, MTV Networks decided to rebrand M2 in the first quarter of 1999, changing the name to MTV2
M2's early years was known for its playful or ironic programming decisions that underscored the channel's free-wheeling, subversive attitude; on January 1, 1999, M2 played the music video "1999" by Prince for 24 hours straight. M2 quickly gained favor with music insiders, and as its popularity and reputation grew within the music industry, it became common for musicians and record labels to request that their new videos premiere exclusively on M2 rather than MTV. Record companies often asked to have new artists appear on the channel in taped segments with the VJs. The Spice Girls made their first U.S. television appearance on M2, as did their video for "Wannabe". At the time of their appearance on M2, the girl group was a huge success in the United Kingdom, but they were relatively unknown to U.S. audiences.
Starting on January 1, 2000, in honor of the millennium, MTV2 attempted to play every music video in the MTV library in alphabetical order. While a majority of videos were played, many were skipped over. The special ended in mid-April 2000.
In 1997, parent company Viacom bought out the rival music channel The Box. Starting on January 1, 2001, all households that had received The Box began to receive MTV2 in its place, putting the channel into millions of additional households. MTV2 also began adding television commercials to its broadcasts; beforehand, subscription providers interrupted MTV2's feed to insert their own ads.
A new show hosted by Jancee Dunn called MTV2 Request aired every weekday between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and again between 11 p.m. and midnight. All of the videos played on MTV2 Request were selected by online viewer requests. Another new show called Control Freak began in 2001, airing weekdays from 8 to 9 p.m. It used real-time viewer voting to select the next video to be played on the channel (out of three choices), while the current video was playing. The majority of the daytime schedule still featured a mix of rap, rock, and pop genre videos. By 2003, the network had 50 million subscribers in the United States.
During the Memorial Day weekend of 2002, MTV2 played a special called Increase The Beat. DJ Paul Oakenfold hosted the special and played videos from such artists as Fatboy Slim, Beastie Boys, and Jay-Z. The videos were arranged in order from slowest to fastest, based on the number of beats per minute of the song.
In 2003, Jesse Snider, son of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider was selected as the new host of MTV2 Rock, replacing Abby Gennet. Another new program included Track 2, a series going "behind the scenes" of music videos, and Nose Dive, profiling past popular artists.
In May of that year, MTV2 relaunched the old MTV program Headbangers Ball, which featured a wide array of heavy metal and hard rock music videos. Metallica hosted the first episode, followed by Rob Zombie for the next few weeks.
In June, MTV2 began an eight-hour block of hip-hop programming on Sundays called Sucker Free Sunday. Each week, a different guest host served up Artist Collections, countdowns, and other hip-hop music specials. In July of that year, the channel also introduced a new advertising campaign – aimed at differentiating itself from its parent network, MTV – featuring The Talking Baby, a foul-mouthed baby doll operated by Charlotte-based comedian Sean Keenan.
Around this time, MTV2 sponsored two albums in the MTV2 Album Covers series, in which a band covers another band's songs. The first was Dashboard Confessional/R.E.M., and the second was Guster/Violent Femmes.
2005-2011:The two-headed dogEdit
In 2005, MTV2 rebranded with a new logo: a two-headed Rottweiler. Billboard Radio Monitor reported that the two heads of the dog were made to represent rock and hip-hop, the two sides of music on MTV2.
From February 2007, MTV2 began scaling down music programming as a result of its production staff being fired. MTV2 would later devote Saturday evenings to rock music, usually during the primetime hours on Saturdays, but currently the block is shown on late Saturday evenings starting at 10:00 p.m. Other formats included a 30-minute block of videos that aired in the early mornings and late nights, as well as the No Break Video Hour, a music video block that excluded commercials, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.
MTV2 gave the cast of Human Giant free rein of the channel in May for an event called Human Giant: 24, allowing them to program the channel and host from MTV's Times Square studios as they see fit for 24 hours, from 12 p.m. on May 18 to 12 p.m. on May 19. Notable guests included Fred Armisen and Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Showalter, Todd Barry, Zach Galifianakis, Tapes 'n Tapes, and Tegan and Sara. The live event was the successor to 24 Hours of Love in 2002, 24 Hours of Foo in 2005, and a subsequent Jackass special on MTV in early 2008.
Music programming was briefly expanded in June. From 4:30 p.m. on June 29 to 1:00 a.m. on July 1, 2007, MTV2 played strictly music videos, whether a general block of videos or a specific genre-based block such as Headbangers Ball (heavy metal) or Sucker Free (hip-hop), for 33 hours and 30 minutes. Throughout the month of July 2007, MTV2 broadcast music video programs during primetime Mondays through Thursdays in its efforts to play more music. In February 2008, MTV2 replaced the 10 p.m. Eastern rebroadcast of Elite 8 with a standard block of music videos.
In 2011, MTV debuted a new original series calld Guy Code on November 15. The series closed out its first season as the highest-rated program in network history, amassing significant time period increases among MTV2's core male demographic with a 55% increase among men 12-34 and massive 188% increase in viewership among male teens, as well as a 44% increase among 12- to 34-year-olds overall. The second season of Guy Code closed out its sophomore run on September 25, 2012, as MTV2's highest-rated and most-watched original series ever.
MTV2 next debuted Nitro Circus Live, an original series featuring 17-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana and his sports-adventure troupe bridging the gap between extreme sports and unabashed daredevil antics, on March 27, 2012 . The first season of Nitro Circus Live became MTV2's highest-rated original series among the network's core demographic of men 12-34 since 2006, delivering an average rating of .42 and a 50% time period increase versus the year prior. In addition, the first season improved its prior year time period by 27%.
On May 22, 2012, MTV2 premiered the comedic game show Hip Hop Squares, a revitalization of the iconic game show Hollywood Squares that featured an original style and personality tailor-made for the network's audience. The show stayed true to the tic-tac-toe format of the original game show, while infusing it with well-known personalities in hip-hop culture. A reboot of the series would premiere on VH1 in 2016. In addition, MTV2 brought back The Dub Magazine Project for a second season on October 28, 2012, to give viewers a unique and rarely seen glimpse into the lives and deepest obsessions of entertainment and sports personalities.
2013 saw MTV2 expand its original programming slate further with the premieres of Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family, the Guy Code spinoff, Guy Court; Ain't that America and Charlamagne and Friends. After a six-year hiatus, a revival of Wild 'n Out premiered on July 9, 2013. The premiere episode of season five had 1.1 million total viewers, the highest-rated telecast in the network's history. During this time, MTV2 introduced a new version of the "Two-Headed Dog" logo, with the channel's name rendered in a new font.
In 2014, MTV2 debuted Jobs That Don't Suck, a show spotlighting young entrepreneurs, and the weekly series Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave, created from MTV's partnership with Major League Baseball. On November 11, 2014, MTV2 renewed Wild n' Out & Guy Code and greenlit two new series: a comedic game show, MTV2's Joking Off, and a news satire series under the working title Number 2 News. Weeks after the announcement that the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, G4, will be shutting down, MTV2 began syndicating the Marvel Anime anthology, which previously aired on the former network.
Because of the popularity of MTV2's original programming, the network was listed as one of Comedy Hype's 20 Game Changers of Comedy of 2015. Joking Off premiered on April 1, 2015, and Number 2 News, renamed Not Exactly News, premiered on June 17, 2015. In the Summer of 2015, MTV2 debuted the reality series, Kingin' with Tyga, and panel show, Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne.
Because of Viacom's 2017 restructuring, in which most of the company's resources were directed towards the flagship MTV network, MTV2 currently has no original programming. In the previous year, several of MTV2's remaining original programs moved to MTV.
Music programming was seen during the AMTV2 block, which aired Monday-Fridays from 4 to 9 a.m. AMTV2 was blocked in as "MTV2 Jams", which runs from 4AM-8AM Eastern, and "MTV2 Music Mix" (known on-air as Morning Music Buzz), which runs from 8AM-9AM Eastern. "Jams" primarily features hip-hop music videos, while "Music Mix" features a mixture of hip-hop, rock, and alternative videos.
On October 28, 2012, MTV2 relaunched its Sucker Free series as The Week in Jams, followed by additional airings on MTV Jams. Where Sucker Free Countdown focused primarily on music, the expanded focus of The Week in Jams includes interviews, fashion trends, music, sports and hip-hop lifestyle. MTV recruited a stable of hip hop contributors to serve as the hosts of The Week in Jams and to provide expert commentary across MTV's channels including: mixtape legend, radio personality and television host DJ Envy; industry insider, radio personality and cast member of MTV2's Guy Code Charlamagne Tha God; Motown Records recording artist and songwriter Sofi Green; insider Maestro; and radio personality and nationally syndicated nighttime radio host Nessa, to join MTV hip hop expert and MTV News correspondent, Sway Calloway. The show hasn't been seen on MTV2's schedule since late 2013.
From 2001 until 2015, MTV2 had a small network of terrestrial television affiliates that carried the network for free as a result of MTV's purchase of The Box in 2001. The broadcast network branch slowly thinned out as other parties purchased stations, with some leaving the air as a result of the digital transition dislocating those stations from their channel positions, and in most cases, the retransmission consent contracts for Viacom's networks, including MTV2, precluded these stations from having any cable or satellite carriage on their own, notwithstanding existing complications involving low-power stations and cable carriage. The over-the-air stations also created a side effect of requiring MTV2's programming to meet the FCC's broadcast safe harbor and in some cases, educational and informational programming requirements. Eventually, Viacom let their affiliation agreements lapse with their broadcast affiliates, and those other stations have become affiliates of other networks, or ceased all operations.
In addition to the original MTV2 channel in the United States, there have been a number of other MTV Networks channels around the world known as MTV2.
- Europe: MTV Rocks, which focused solely on alternative rock and indie, broadcast from London. It was called MTV Two.
- Canada: MTV2 in Canada was very similar to its American counterpart, however it had VJs who host shows such as MTV2 Videos (music videos). The original incarnation of MTV2 featured a non-stop freeform mix of music videos as well as a select number of concert performances. It was replaced by PunchMuch (now known as Juicebox) in June 2005.
- Germany: A version of MTV2 was replaced by Nick in September 2005. Unlike the original, MTV2 Pop was a mainstream channel. However, MTV Rocks is being offered by several pay-TV services.
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