Everybody has a favorite Unplugged. Nirvana covering David Bowie, showcasing Kurt Cobain as we’d never seen him before. LL Cool J going all in on “Mama Said Knock You Out.” The stripped down pop of Katy Perry and soul of Adele. Iconic performances from legends Jay-Z & The Roots and Eric Clapton.
All of these moments and more contribute to the enduring musical legacy of the Unplugged franchise, and fit in the framework of its evolution over the course of its nearly 23-year history. Launched on-air in November of 1989, Unplugged has evolved a few times over the years and is now an Emmy-winning music series that expands across all of Viacom’s Music Group brands – not only MTV, but also CMT and VH1.
With Florence + the Machine Unplugged in the leadoff spot for the new season kicking off on April 9 with State Farm serving as the exclusive digital sponsor, we sat down with Van Toffler, President of Viacom’s Music and Logo Group, to discuss Unplugged, its legacy and evolution, and the joys – and occasional pains – of bringing the show to music fans for more than two decades.