Logo of the 2005 edition of Fromage
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Original network||MuchMusic, XSNetworks|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||1988 – present|
Fromage is an annual Canadian one-hour special produced by the MuchMusic cable channel. Originally hosted by songwriter (and MuchMusic VJ) Christopher Ward, beginning in the late 1980s (later co-hosting with Natalie Richard), Fromage pays "tribute" to music videos that are considered the worst or cheesiest of the year by MuchMusic staff.
The show was revived after an eight-year hiatus with "Fromage 2013" (albeit with a shorter run-time similar to "Ultra Fromage 2006"), which is featured on the XSNetwork's channel on YouTube. It is once again hosted by Ed the Sock.
Since the late 1990s, the program has been hosted by MuchMusic's acerbic puppet VJ Ed the Sock. The show traditionally aired during the Christmas season as a part of special annual programming dubbed the "Holiday Wrap", and features a countdown of the worst music videos of the year, with humorously cynical (and sometimes profane) commentary from Ed along the way. Only selected videos are shown in their entirety. The specials are often taped in places such as cheese factories and restaurants to play on the name "Fromage". "Fromage" is French for "cheese".
The format has changed from year to year; in 1999, rather than looking back at the previous year's videos, the special focused on the worst videos of the 20th century. From then to 2003, the awards were given according to categories nominated in, then counted down from least to most votes. 2002 was the last year the show was seen on MuchMusic USA, after that network decided to end simulcasting MuchMusic and become fuse.
In 2004, the format was changed to a top 40 cheesiest video countdown, where any video can be nominated. This has caused videos to be voted that Ed has not agreed with. These are usually due to the videos being intentionally cheesy, whereas Fromage is supposed to deal with videos that are not aware of their own cheesiness. Such videos included:
- The Darkness—"I Believe in a Thing Called Love" (2004)
- Franz Ferdinand—"Do You Want To" (2005)
- Crazy Frog—"Axel F" (2005)
In December 2006, it was announced that no Fromage special would air on MuchMusic, but a 30-minute special entitled "Ultra Fromage 2006" would air exclusively on Citytv. In order to differentiate itself from the previous Fromage specials, it covered aspects of show business and pop culture, with a short segment on the cheesiest music videos at the end of the program. Ed the Sock maintained hosting duties and was joined by Liana K, his co-host on the Citytv show, Ed & Red's Night Party. This was the last Fromage as Ed's relationship with Citytv ended when new owners re-branded the channel, but the Ultra-Fromage style was a template for what would become I Hate Hollywood on CHCH TV.
In 2008, the MuchMusic program Video on Trial, itself a show that critiques music videos with a rotating panel of comedians, presented the "Best of the Worst 2008" special in December 2008, counting down the worst 20 music videos of the year in a format similar to that of Fromage 2004 and 2005. It was followed up with editions in each subsequent year.
The show was revived after an eight-year hiatus with "Fromage 2013", albeit with a shorter run-time similar to "Ultra Fromage", which is featured on the XSNetwork's channel on YouTube. It is once again hosted by Ed the Sock and counts down the nine cheesiest videos of the year, as chosen by Ed personally (as opposed to being chosen by viewers in previous years). It was originally intended to be a one-hour special, like previous Fromage specials, but production was cut due to a power outage caused by the Toronto Ice Storm in late December 2013.
Fromage number ones
- 1993: "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Techno" by BKS featuring Don Cherry
- 1994: "Cotton Eye Joe" by Rednex
- 1997: "Electric Barbarella" by Duran Duran
- 1998: "Do for Love" by Tupac Shakur
- 1999: "Just the Way I Planned It" by Philip Michael Thomas (voted cheesiest video of 20th century)
- 2000: "The Hampsterdance Song" credited to "Hampton the Hampster"
- 2001: "Not Too Young, Not Too Old" by Aaron Carter
- 2002: "Papa Don't Preach" by Kelly Osbourne
- 2003: "Me Against the Music" by Britney Spears featuring Madonna
- 2004: "My Prerogative" by Britney Spears
- 2005: "Do Somethin'" by Britney Spears
- 2006: "Lose Control" by Kevin Federline
- 2013: "Bound 2" by Kanye West
- Video on Trial, a currently-running MuchMusic series featuring comedic reviews of music videos