MTV Classic (U.S. TV network)

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MTV Classic
MTV Classic logo
Launched January 1, 1998; 19 years ago (1998-01-01)
(Original launch as VH1 Smooth Jazz)
May 8, 2000; 16 years ago (2000-05-08)
(relaunch as VH1 Classic)
August 1, 2016; 6 months ago (2016-08-01)
(relaunch as MTV Classic)
Owned by Viacom Media Networks
Picture format 480i SDTV
Country United States
Language English
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Formerly called
  • VH1 Smooth Jazz (1998–2000)
  • VH1 Classic (2000–2016)
Sister channel(s)
Dish Network 163
C-Band AMC 18-Channel 234 (H2H 4DTV)
Available on many cable systems Check local listings for specific channels
Verizon FiOS 218
AT&T U-verse 520
Streaming media
DirecTV Now Internet Protocol television

MTV Classic (formerly VH1 Smooth Jazz and VH1 Classic) is an American television network owned by Viacom Media Networks. It was originally launched in 1998 as VH1 Smooth Jazz, an adult contemporary and smooth jazz channel. It was relaunched as VH1 Classic in 2000, with an emphasis on classic rock. On August 1, 2016, in honor of MTV's 35th anniversary, the channel was rebranded as MTV Classic.


As VH1 Classic (2000–2016)[edit]

VH1 Classic launched on May 8, 2000 and replaced VH1 Smooth Jazz, a smooth jazz and adult contemporary channel.[1]

The network primarily featured a mainstream rock/adult hits-formatted mix of music videos and concert footage from the 1970s through the mid-1990s, though it formerly included a wider range of genres and time periods. The network originally played only videos but had a varied line-up of music-themed programs. This included themed compilation shows of music videos and concert footage, such as music videos focused on Heavy Metal music or on music of the 1980s, music documentaries such as the Classic Albums series, music themed movies, and full length concerts. They also rebroadcast programs first shown on the main VH1 channel, including Pop-Up Video and I Love the '80s.

As MTV Classic (2016–present)[edit]

In July 2016, Viacom announced that on August 1, the 35th anniversary of the original MTV's launch, the network would rebrand as MTV Classic; the channel's programming continues to focus on classic music videos and programming (including notable episodes of MTV Unplugged and Storytellers), but skews more towards the 1980s, 1990s and early to mid-2000s. The re-branded network would also air encores of past MTV original series such as the 2011 Beavis and Butt-head revival and Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. The network's re-launch took place at 6:00 a.m. ET with a rebroadcast of MTV's first hour on the air, which was also simulcast on MTV and online via Facebook live streaming, branded as "MTV Hour One" (the channel, as VH1 Classic, had previously aired it to mark the network's 30th anniversary in 2011).[2][3] Several VH1 Classic programs were retained in the existing schedule, albeit in late night.

On December 25, 2016, a marathon of George Michael music videos were aired that night in dedication to the late singer. Three days leading up to January 1, 2017, MTV Classic aired 24-hour block "Decade-a-thons" consisting of music videos from the 1980s leading up to the 2000s.[4] Those lead into a new revamped schedule, removing archive MTV programming and shifting to an all-video format.

As of December 2016, the channel was the least-watched entertainment channel of 2016 in a list compiled by TheWrap, averaging only 35,000 viewers on an average night in primetime.[5]


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