MTV News, Which Broke News of Cobain's Death, Shuts Down

First show, anchored by Kurt Loder, launched in 1987
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2023 1:20 AM CDT
MTV News Shuts Down After 36 Years
FILE- A general view of the red carpet is pictured at the MTV Movie & TV Awards on June 15, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.   (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File)

MTV News, an iconic presence on the small screen in the 1990s and early 2000s, is shutting down after 36 years. The Los Angeles Times calls it "a mainstay of '90s music culture" in one of many pieces bidding it farewell after Paramount Global's Tuesday announcement of a number of other big changes, amid which MTV News was shuttered. Layoffs cut MTV and Showtime's domestic staff by almost a quarter, and what one exec called a "strategic realignment" also saw Showtime operations and MTV Entertainment Studios consolidated and nine network teams collapsed into one group.

In 1983, about 150 seconds of music news was delivered by VJs per hour of music videos, Yahoo News reports. In 1984, the network hired Doug Herzog to start a news department. In 1987, MTV News launched as one show, The Week in Rock anchored by Kurt Loder, who had written for Rolling Stone. It grew until it became, per the Hollywood Reporter, "a bona fide news outlet for Gen X and older millennials who found that traditional TV programming on the broadcast networks and CNN wasn’t cutting it." Loder and his fellow correspondents were soon stars at MTV. The 1992 presidential candidates appeared on MTV News as they campaigned, and then, as president in 1994, Bill Clinton famously answered the audience question, "boxers or briefs?" Documentaries, town halls, and specials on topics running the gamut from "hate rock" to "gangsta rap" to the Iraq War were run, and Emmy and Peabody awards were won.

It was in 1994 that Loder broke the news of Kurt Cobain's death, which the network had confirmed; Pitchfork calls it a "landmark story" after which MTV News started running more frequent programming, and Yahoo News calls it "the apex of the news agency’s cultural power." (See Loder's report at Digg.) But as the years went on and social media, YouTube, and outlets like Vice and BuzzFeed were born, MTV News began to lose its influence; its size had already been significantly reduced in 2017 after an attempt to reboot it was largely abandoned. (More MTV stories.)

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