Save the Date for the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards: Live From Los Angeles On Saturday, August 27

Dust off your spacesuits and queue your favorite “New & Noteworthy” YouTube playlist, because the VMAs are swiftly approaching.

After transforming Madison Square Garden into a terrestrial dance hall, aerobics studio and lemonade stand for last year’s ceremony, MTV is heading back to California—specifically the Forum, a historic venue in Inglewood.

“MTV, at 35 years old, has been around almost as long as the Forum,” said Forum manager Shelli Azoff in a press release. “Together, we’re 85 and enjoy lifetimes of music history.”

The Forum—sometimes called the “Fabulous” Forum—is the nation’s largest indoor performance venue, hosting sporting events and musical extravaganzas, including the 2014 VMA telecast.

MTV lands in Los Angeles for the 2014 VMAs. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Read More

VH1 Celebrates 20 Years of Saving the Music with 20 Custom Gibson Guitars

Those passing in and out of Viacom’s Times Square Headquarters throughout June found a collection of Gibson Les Paul guitars nestled in a sunlit corner of the lobby. The exhibit flows effortlessly with the building’s groovy aesthetic, and could easily be an installation at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. It’s the brainchild of VH1 Save The Music Foundation, executed in collaboration with Art at Viacom and over 40 renowned visual artists and musicians.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of VH1 Save The Music, the artists worked in pairs to create 20 stunning, ornate instruments—enough to make any music fiend, art collector or investor swoon. And they will get their chance to do more than just admire them when VH1 Save The Music auctions off these guitars in October, partnering with Julien’s Auctions Los Angeles as part of their Idols & Icons: Rock and Roll sale. The proceeds are expected to fund musical instruments for at least 30 school band programs in the U.S.

Until then, these guitars are on tour—starting at Viacom headquarters and touring the New York-metro area until the fall, so fans and admirers can appreciate the majestic endeavor.

The Gibson installation at Viacom Headquarters. Photo by Bart Stadnicki.

I spoke with VH1 Save The Music Executive Director Henry Donahue to learn more about what promoted this massive, creative collaboration, and what he hopes to achieve with such campaigns.

Read More

Make America Fierce Again: What a Ratings Surge Tells Us About RuPaul’s Drag Race

After strutting from Logo to VH1, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s ninth season premiered Friday, March 24. Critics say it’s as fabulous as ever—with a fierce cast delivering a whole new level of charisma, nerve, and talent. Viewers agree. The season premiere drew nearly 1 million viewers, more than any other episode of Drag Race. It was the most-watched show on cable TV that night, besides the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. The divas dominated Twitter, as well, trending worldwide and garnering the highest Twitter volume in Drag Race history.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: (L-R) Eureka O'hara, Peppermint, Kimora Blac, Alexis Michelle; Trinity Taylor, Shea Coulee, Jaymes Mansfield, Nina Bo' Nina Brown, Aja, Valentina, Sasha Velour, Charlie Hides and Farrah Moan attend "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 9 Premiere Party & Meet The Queens Event at PlayStation Theater on March 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

The cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race attend Season 9 Premiere Party & Meet The Queens Event at PlayStation Theater on March 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Read More

MTV Slays at the Cannes Lions Festival: Let’s Hear a Roar of Applause

Every year in June, hundreds of creative agencies, tech companies and media powerhouses converge in the South of France for The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It’s a celebration of the year’s boldest ad campaigns; a chance to attend seminars with industry experts and drink champagne on yachts along the French Riviera.

The most visionary companies leave with the coveted Cannes Lyon Award—essentially the Oscar trophy of the advertising world.

You might remember 2015’s trippy, GIF-inspired VMA green-screen. The creative encouraged fans to download photos of their favorite VMA artists, such as Miley Cyrus, and customize them with fan art, emojis, and flying tacos.

Now the psychedelic promo has won a Cannes Gold Lion.

Read More

Kanye for President and so Much More from the 2015 VMAs

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

And you thought we were off to an early start to the 2016 presidential campaigns? While Democrats and Republicans spend their summer traipsing across Iowa to lock in a portion of that state’s nomination, Kanye West leapfrogged the whole crew, announcing he will run for president in 2020 at the VMAs, broadcast from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Read More

VMAs 2014: Even More Than Miley

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Get More: 2014 VMA, Artists.MTV, Music

As conversations about last year’s twerk-tastic Video Music Awards wind down (though they will never erase from memory, entirely), the year’s biggest celebration of pop music returned this weekend, leaving us with fresh fodder for conversation and pop culture references. Among its many notable moments, there was a breathtaking performance from Queen Bey, who was joined by husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy, giving us a touching glimpse of the First Family of Hip-Hop… a moving moment when Common, presenter of the Moonman for Best Hip Hop video, talked about Ferguson and asked the audience to take a moment of silence to remember Michael Brown… and a stirring performance from Usher, who was joined on-stage by Nicki Minaj. Read More

NYT Disrupters of the Year Include Key, Peele and Cyrus

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

KP304_38-NooiceGuys

In its end of the year feature “The Disrupters,” the New York Times chronicles the cultural upheaval of 2013, from streaming TV to immersive theater. Making it into the chronicle were Comedy Central’s “sketch kings” — Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, as well as “pop provocateur” Miley Cyrus, who entered the cultural zeitgeist in an entirely new and newly provocative way at the MTV Video Music Awards in August. Read More

Redfoo Headed to Amsterdam to Emcee MTV EMA, with Miley in His Suitcase

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Redfoo, one-half of the dance music duo LMFAO, is heading to Amsterdam to emcee this year’s MTV EMA on Nov. 10. This year’s iteration of the show will once again be executive produced by Bruce Gillmer, Executive Vice President of Talent and Music Programming/Events, for Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).

But first, he’s got to get through airport security. In the promo above, we learn that Redfoo has literally packed Miley Cyrus in his suitcase. Check it out for yourself.

No One Can Stop… Talking About Miley

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

More than a month after the 2013 Video Music Awards, and Miley is still a headline to be reckoned with. Emerging from the din of chatter, though, is, in the words of a recent New York Times piece, “a backlash against the backlash.” Whether you think her performance was lewd, a springboard for a conversation about female sexuality or just Miley being Miley, one thing is undisputed: she’s been driving traffic. Her new video for “Wrecking Ball” has already racked up more than 180 million views on YouTube alone, and news stories about the young performer are drawing eyeballs. People are intrigued and interested. Read More