Club MTV

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Club MTV
Presented by Downtown Julie Brown
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 1245
Location(s) New York City, New York
United States
Original network MTV
Original release September 13, 1985 – June 26, 1992

Club MTV is a half hour television show molded after American Bandstand that aired on MTV from September 13, 1985 to June 26, 1992.[1] Club MTV was part of MTV's second generation of programming when they were phasing out the original 5 VJs and introducing new ones.


Background and format[edit]

Hosted by Downtown Julie Brown (Kevin Seal hosted the pilot) at The Palladium, a large dance club in New York City, the show cut back and forth between teenagers dancing to a hit dance song and the video of that hit. In later shows they would dance exclusively to freestyle music. Often there were musical guests who performed their new singles; such guests included Paula Abdul, Exposé, Jody Watley, Debbie Harry, Vanessa Williams, Sheena Easton, Salt-n-Pepa, MC Hammer, Deee-lite, Pet Shop Boys, E.U., Vanilla Ice, Samantha Fox, Soul II Soul, Black Box, Company B, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Also some rock groups like The Ramones, Mr. Mister, and INXS also appeared live on the show. The show was taped in a private home once in 1988 with former Go-Go's frontwoman Belinda Carlisle as a musical guest, when a full 24 hours of MTV were broadcast from the home of the "MTV At My House" contest winner. Other shows featured were Remote Control and The Week In Rock.

With the rise in popularity of Freestyle music, Club MTV began using the music nearly exclusively with a few house and hip hop songs thrown in. In 1989, MTV introduced a companion show for Friday nights called Street Party that aired the complete videos of songs used on Club MTV.

Though molded after American Bandstand, the show had a more sophisticated, nightclub look. The women especially, many of them aspiring models, dressed in provocative clubwear—skintight dresses, Spandex pants, miniskirts, fishnet stockings—and the show became known for its sexual allure. In an MTV special broadcast in the fall of 1999 on some of the network's more scandalous moments, Rob Fox, casting director for Club MTV during its first year, had this to say: "Club MTV was supposed to be a teen dance show, but in a channel run by men it turned into a show that was pretty much 'Table-dance Afternoon.'" In the book MTV Uncensored (NY: Pocket Books, 2001), Fox goes on to say he was also "the panty monitor. We had a set of rules that any woman or girl dancing on the platform had to wear panties, because of the infamous up-skirt shows of Club MTV. Someone, I'm sure, somewhere, has a director's reel of boobs falling out of low-cut dresses and shots. I would get on the headsets: 'Rob, uh, we really need you to take that girl off the platform because I can see her hairstyle and I'm not talking about her head.'"

The Club MTV Tour[edit]

Late in 1989, MTV launched their first Club MTV Tour featuring Was (Not Was), Information Society, Paula Abdul, Milli Vanilli and Tone Loc. But the tour was marred with troubles. On the first tour, singer Cathy Dennis who was booked for six weeks suddenly dropped out after three days, publicly accusing one of the members of Milli Vanilli, the tour's headline act, of sexual harassment. In addition Milli Vanilli was permitted by tour promoters to lip sync to pre-recorded tracks. One night a track began to skip midway through the song "Girl You Know It's True" while the show was being taped for broadcast. Later that year when it was revealed that neither Fab Morvan nor Rob Pilatus had performed on their album but the vocals had been recorded by other various studio singers, MTV was suspected of knowing that Milli Vanilli was a fraud all along. Tour promoters countered that lip-syncing was a common practice because of the exhausting dance routines artists did while performing.

During the 1992 tour, several acts dropped out midway through their bookings, forcing MTV to book new acts at the last minute. With most of the Freestyle acts no longer interested in the tour, MTV wound up booking hip hop and rap acts to replace them.

MTV and VH1 blacklist dance music[edit]

In 1992, MTV suddenly canceled both Street Party and Club MTV with no explanation. However, MTV executives made some subtle hints that it was in response to the many dance acts dropping out of the Club MTV tour. From that moment on, MTV and VH1 showed a noticeable aversion towards dance videos. Many popular dance artists who up until then had several videos air on MTV were no longer able to get their new videos into rotation. This also marked the time that MTV began to elevate rap and hip hop acts on the channel.

A few months after Club MTV was cancelled, a similar dance show debuted on the channel called The Grind. Much like Club MTV the show cut back and forth between teenagers dancing and the song's music video, the difference being most of the music used on The Grind was hip hop and rap. While the videos for rap and hip hop acts were shown on each episode, whenever dance hits were used their videos were not shown.

In 1997, VH1 debuted Dance Machine, a show notorious for showing regular pop acts instead of acts on the dance charts. The same year, MTV announced they would be replacing one hour of their morning hip hop show MTV Jams with a new dance video show, this in response to complaints by their viewers. But after three days the show was cancelled. Viewers complained that the show actually featured one real dance video an hour while the rest were the same as was always shown in the MTV Jams time slot. Later that month, MTV had a special episode of 12 Angry Viewers where contestants were given four videos to choose the worst on MTV and Gina G's "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit" won. The dance video was never actually shown on MTV before and the tape was taken and destroyed at the end of the show so that MTV would never air it again.

Dance finally returned to MTV in the form of the show AMP. But the style was limited to Electronica and the show rarely aired earlier than 2 am. When AMP was moved to MTV2 it was soon renamed MTV2 Dance Videos but mainly aired the same Electronica videos. Another MTV2 show called Monster Mix edited a number of videos together mash style and sometimes had an episode with pure dance videos, both classic and new.

On March 20, 2005, VH1 Classic aired a marathon of old Club MTV episodes with a promise that the show would return in the future.

DVD releases[edit]

MTV Networks currently has no plans to release the music show on DVD at this time.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]