Fuse (TV channel)
|Launched||July 1, 1994|
|Owned by||Fuse Media, LLC.|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Formerly called||MuchMusic USA (1994–2001)|
(merged into Fuse on September 30, 2015)
Channel 1339 (VOD)
|Dish Network||Channel 164|
|Spectrum||Channel 169 (SD)|
Channel 900 (SD)
Channel 1352 (HD)
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 1182 (HD)|
Channel 182 (SD)
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol television|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
Fuse is an American pay television channel that first launched in 1994 and was originally dedicated to music. After merging with the Latino-oriented NuvoTV in 2015, Fuse shifted its focus to general entertainment and lifestyle programming targeting multicultural young adults.
As of February 2015, Fuse was available to approximately 71,491,000 pay television households (61.4% of households with television) in the United States. With the loss of carriage on Xfinity and Verizon Fios on January 1, 2019 and a number of cable operators discontinuing their carriage since 2015, it currently has an availability of around 38 million pay television households.
As MuchMusic USA
The channel originally launched on July 1, 1994, as MuchMusic USA; it was founded as a joint venture between Rainbow Media (currently known as AMC Networks), a division of New York-based Cablevision and Toronto-based CHUM Limited. (CHUM also launched a Canadian counterpart to then-Rainbow owned arts network Bravo around a year later, though since then the two networks' programming have completely diverged.) CHUM would later sell its 50% stake in the network to Cablevision in 2000, but allowed the continued use of the "MuchMusic" name under a brand licensing agreement. Initially, the network mirrored the schedule of its Canadian equivalent with U.S. advertising, but with French-language programming and programs licensed from MTV and VH1 blacked out and replaced with reruns of other programs or with infomercials.
However, through its' early years, the channel suffered from a lack of carriage; outside of Cablevision's own systems (mostly in the New York City metro area, and at the time, Boston and Cleveland), as well as satellite providers DirecTV (which carried it as, at the time, fellow satellite provider USSB, with which it shared transponders and equipment, had the exclusive rights to all Viacom-owned channels, including MTV and VH1; these channels would eventually move to DirecTV shortly before USSB merged with them) and now-defunct PrimeStar (which added the channel as part of an expansion to their lineup on April 20, 1997; due to limited bandwidth on their FSS platform, MuchMusic was a part-time channel running from 2:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST on weekdays, and from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM on the weekends), not many providers carried the network, an exception being Continental Cablevision (later MediaOne)'s systems in New England, Ohio and Florida. Beginning in 1996, Rainbow began an effort to include US-produced original programming and music video blocks on the network's lineup, partially as a way of alleviating criticism for the channel's Canadian origins. Certain Cablevision systems in major markets also experimented with locally-oriented music countdown shows, typically produced in cooperation with a local radio station (such as Cablevision's Boston system producing the MuchMusic Boston Countdown together with radio station WFNX).
In 1998, the network also began to be included in a sub-unit of Rainbow focused upon live pay-per-view events taking place at New York's world-famous Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden (both also owned by Cablevision's founding Dolan family), Radio City Networks.
By 2001, MuchMusic USA began to diverge from its Canadian parent; it introduced a new logo identifying itself as MMUSA, and began to air its own original programming and music video blocks, often featuring user-submitted videos; the network's new direction centered around viewer interactivity via the Internet, with the "mmusa.tv" website being the focal point of the interaction.
Carriage of the network began to expand with the rise of digital cable, with Time Warner Cable and Comcast beginning to carry the channel around this time. By December 2002, MMUSA had replaced almost the entirety of its schedule with domestically produced programming, with the only MuchMusic program remaining being RapCity. An interactive TV component was also launched as part of Cablevision's iO digital cable service in the New York area.
After CHUM revoked its licensing agreement for the U.S. channel to use the MuchMusic brand, Cablevision announced that it would relaunch MMUSA as Fuse in 2003.
The channel officially relaunched as Fuse on May 19, 2003, with the debut of the critically acclaimed hip-hop comedy series Kung Faux. Fuse originally focused on more underground and indie music genres. Overtime, the channel would cover a much broader range of music genres such as pop, urban, punk, and heavy metal while still encompassing underground indie music scenes and popular culture.
In its early days, Fuse programming was very music-intensive. The network indirectly bashed MTV with a slogan touting Fuse as the channel "where the music went." Fuse's advertising in this period, by New York-based Amalgamated, generated controversy both through its more direct criticism of MTV, and through its parodies, particularly that of the iPod ad campaign. Viacom, corporate owner of MTV and, for a short while, the former owner of many of Fuse's current sister properties, protested when a Fuse billboard appeared across from its headquarters featuring Sally Struthers' plea to "save the music video."
In 2008, Fuse became the exclusive television partner for some major music events, including signing a three-year deal to air the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Fuse also works with the Van's Warped Tour, Voodoo Experience, and Lollapalooza, airing interviews and live news from the festivals. The same year, as part of a corporate reorganization, Cablevision moved Fuse from its Rainbow Media division to its Madison Square Garden unit – aligning it with a group of co-owned music venues across New York City. In 2009, Fuse debuted a two-minute music news program called The Daily Noise which is updated courtesy of Billboard Magazine.
On June 20, 2010, Fuse simulcast the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards, marking its first broadcast of MuchMusic programming since its relaunch as Fuse. Other MuchMusic programming would return in 2011, including The Wedge and Video on Trial (which would also gain an American version).
Blink-182 and former +44 singer/bassist Mark Hoppus began hosting his own weekly television series on Fuse that year, titled Hoppus on Music. The show has featured a star-studded lineup of guests, including Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg, Phil Collins, Ben Folds, Kid Cudi, Angels and Airwaves, Simple Plan and Ozzy Osbourne.
On June 28, 2011, Vevo and Fuse entered into a video syndication and content partnership. As part of the partnership, Fuse.tv syndicates Vevo's music video and entertainment programming, including exclusive music video premieres, live music events, and originally produced series.
Through its Fuse Presents series, the network has also presented live concerts from various venues, primarily from those owned by MSG. These have included:
- July 25, 2008: Fall Out Boy live from the Chicago Theatre
- June 1, 2009: Dave Matthews Band live from the Beacon Theatre
- September 11, 2009: Jay-Z concert live from Madison Square Garden. The concert was simulcast by MuchMusic in Canada.
- November 17, 2009: John Mayer live from the Beacon Theatre
- November 24, 2010: Drake live from Radio City Music Hall 
- October 19, 2010: Elton John and Leon Russell live from the Beacon Theatre
- February 18, 2011: Linkin Park live from Madison Square Garden.
- August 30, 2011: Red Hot Chili Peppers from The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood.
- December 16, 2011: Swedish House Mafia live from Madison Square Garden.
- December 17, 2011: The National live from The Beacon Theatre.
- December 18, 2011: Z100's Jingle Ball 2011 live from Madison Square Garden.
In the fall of 2012, Fuse refocused itself with a new on-air branding campaign created by design agency LoyalKaspar, and focused more of its website, fuse.tv, on trending music news stories. During music video programming, the channel runs a ticker which features the latest news stories from Fuse News and Twitter. That winter, Fuse launched a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. In November 2012, Fuse announced the launch of Fuse News, a daily news update program which debuted in February 2013, along with additional newsworthy programming including Trending 10. The channel continues to focus on music but has also diversified with reality shows such as Off Beat and Ex-wives of Rock. Top 100 Playlist aired in 2012 presenting various artists and bands.
In March 2013, anonymous sources leaked news that MSG was planning to sell all or part of Fuse, as the network had been struggling, and was facing growing competition from digital outlets such as Vevo.
On April 4, 2014, MSG and SiTV Media, the parent company of the Latino-oriented entertainment network NuvoTV, announced that SiTV would acquire Fuse for $226 million. SiTV outbid Revolt, who had made a $200 million offer to acquire Fuse. As part of the deal, the Madison Square Garden Company would take a 15% stake in SiTV. Prior to the official announcement, Benny Medina (manager of Jennifer Lopez, the network's chief creative officer) stated that if SiTV were to acquire Fuse, there were no immediate plans to make any major changes to the network's programming, emphasizing that Fuse and NuvoTV would be "two different companies with two different identities, audiences and goals.". However, on May 1, Fuse News was cancelled with immediate effect, with the entire staff let go, along with other cuts throughout the network.
The acquisition was completed on July 1, 2014.
In March 2015, NuvoTV was folded into Fuse, and the parent company was renamed Fuse Media. New shows were announced, including White Guy Talk Show, a late-night talk show hosted by Grace Parra and Saurin Choksi, which debuted on March 2, 2015; and, debuting on April 9, Skee TV, hosted by DJ Skee, featuring interviews and live performances. In addition, the newly rebranded parent company, Fuse Media, announced the launch of a new music channel focusing on "up-and-coming, young, diverse talent". The new channel, FM, would later launch on September 30, 2015, replacing NuvoTV.
In April 2015, Fuse became the exclusive broadcaster of Legends Football League games in the United States. On July 31, 2015, Fuse announced they would relaunch with a new logo and branding on September 30, 2015. In addition to new series such as Transcendent, which documents the lives of transgender women at AsiaSF Cabaret & Restaurant in San Francisco, and Revealed, which features music videos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage of artists at work, Fuse announced a multi-year partnership with comedian Gabriel Iglesias for additional new programming and comedy specials.
In November 2017, a partnership between Complex and Fuse was announced in which Fuse will air a block of Complex digital series under the Complex x Fuse banner. The block premiered on November 10, 2017.
Towards the end of 2018, both Comcast and Verizon announced that Fuse and FM would be dropped from Xfinity and Fios on January 1, 2019, reasoning that the networks' lack of viewership and Fuse's channel drift towards a sitcom and film repeat-heavy lineup did not justify continued carriage of the networks. Fuse Media CEO Michael Schwimmer made the claim the networks were being dropped as Comcast's Department of Justice consent decree for their acquisition was relaxed regarding channel diversity and a commitment to independent channel operators, giving them an out from carrying the network. In reality, the decree remains in full effect and Fuse's de facto replacement, TV One sister network Cleo TV, launched broadly on Comcast systems on January 19 under the same decree.
Original programming currently seen on Fuse consists of lifestyle, reality, and documentary programming. After merging with NuvoTV and launching FM in September 2015, Fuse would slowly scale down its music programming in favor of acquired sitcoms and feature films. Fuse would remove its music video blocks altogether in Spring 2019.
Former on-air staff
- Esteban Serrano – host of Top 20 Countdown
- Katie van Buren – host of Top 20 Countdown
- Timothy Dunn – host of Got Ur #
- Yasmine Richard – host of Top 20 Countdown and Trending 10
Entertainment and music shows
- Trending 10, hosted by Dan Brown and Zuri Hall
- Fuse Top 20 Countdown, hosted by Juliya Chernetsky and Allison Hagendorf
- Cee Lo Green * Talking to Strangers
- Hoppus on Music, hosted by Mark Hoppus
- Hip Hop Shop and On the Record, hosted by Touré
- Matte Babel – host of Fuse News
- Alexa Chung – host of Fuse News
- Georgie Okell – host of Fuse News
- Elaine Moran – host of Fuse News and Trending 10
- Jack Osbourne – host of Fuse News
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- "NUVOtv Parent Company SiTV Media to Acquire Fuse Network From The Madison Square Garden Company" (Press release). New York, NY: MSG Networks Inc. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
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