Open Mic with Bear Frazer: The Emergence of VH1

Freedom of expression is what makes America so beautiful. This country thrives on entertainment. People eat up drama like nachos and cheese. There is one pop culture channel which is devoted to feed couch potatoes’ appetites with quality programming. VH1 has always stood in the shadow of MTV, but now, it’s one of the most watched networks on television.

The three hour programming block coined Celebreality has been dynamite for VH1. The Sunday Night lineup features three reality shows. The Surreal Life 4 pits six celebrities living under one roof where anything can happen and if you saw the first episode, an intoxicated Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer squealed in his bed and later, urinated on a wall in the nude. Strange Love features Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen attempting to rekindle an old flame and Celebrity Fit Club exposes eight obese celebrities divided on two teams and challenged to lose weight. Those three shows received the highest ratings in the channel’s history.

The addition of a programming schedule has had a positive effect for the record breaking statistics. “Sunday Night is the 1st Time we had destination scheduling,” said Brett Henne, VH1 Director of Corporate Communications. “So if it’s Sunday Night, you know Celebreality is on.”

Solid marketing strategies have also elevated the company to a new level. “When we have big programming events like I Love The 90’s, we’ll (VH1) do a pre-marathon where episodes air all week and we do all our marketing towards that,” Henne said. I Love The 90’s, a series compiled of unforgettable pop culture events in the 1990’s, became the highest rated week ever in VH1 history.

VH1 also likes to keep viewers updated on current events. In The Fabulous Life of Britney Spears, people are informed of the happenings of Spears in chronological order, from achievements to her most embarrassing moments and Hollywood outsiders share their opinions on the show. The Fabulous Life of … series also exposes celebrities and their lavish lifestyles. There are also specials such as Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood, where VH1 takes a closer look into the life of Jackson.

In addition, there are other several cutting-edge shows which made 2004 VH1’s most watched year ever. Blender teamed up with the network to bring Awesomely Bad Countdowns, where journalists and industry personalities try to figure out the logic behind the songs and videos. Behind The Music, one of their longest running features, is still drawing in big numbers with new editions of artists trying to make comebacks. And, by showing movies like Austin Powers, Showgirls and 8 Mile, it isn’t hard to grasp why the primetime rating went up 50% over two years.

Now that things have been shook up, VH1 is no longer the relaxed alternative to MTV. This channel is no longer about light rock, Lilith Fair and Pop-Up Video. It’s about pop-culture and entertainment; what America is really about. Avid fans can expect more specials to pop-up as well as more music. Also, keep an eye out for “Kept,” a show featuring Jerry Hall to makes its’ way into the Celebreality lineup this spring. So sit back, relax and make some nachos and cheese, because VH1 is spicing things up.

4 thoughts on “Open Mic with Bear Frazer: The Emergence of VH1”

  1. VH1’s “Awesomely Bad Metal Videos” countdown was sweet. I liked darn near every video they had. I enjoy the “I Love the 70’s/80’s” shows they have too.

  2. “It’s about pop-culture and entertainment; what America is really about.”

    The sad thing is that that statement has become so true.. I however do not view this as a positive thing at all.

  3. couldn’t agree with brett more.

    “So sit back, relax and make some nachos and cheese, because VH1 is spicing things up.”

    stop thinking, stuff your face and let someone else tell you what’s cool.

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