Get pumped, ’90s kids: The classics like Daria and Beavis & Butt-head that made MTV a staple of your youth are returning to television.
Parent company Viacom is rebranding VH1 Classic as MTV Classic and the network’s programming lineup is a throwback to MTV’s heyday. It features reruns of fan favorites like Pimp My Ride, Cribs, Jackass, Punk’d, the aforementioned Daria and Beavis & Butt-head, and the music series MTV Unplugged—only a few of which are available on streaming services like Hulu. And the network plans to air marathons of shows like The Real World, Laguna Beach, and Road Rules on weekends.
The kickoff is scheduled for Aug. 1, the 35th anniversary of the original MTV network, with a re-airing of the first-ever hour of MTV programming from 1981, followed by a retrospective on the popular music countdown show Total Request Live, which ran from 1998 to 2008.
Viacom is betting on ’90s nostalgia as ratings tumble among its bundle of cable networks, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike, and TV Land. In particular, music-centric MTV, which revolves around 12-to-34-year-olds, has struggled to fit in with today’s youth, who are cutting the cable cord, watching music videos online at sites like YouTube, and aren’t as captivated by the network’s reality series as generations past had been.
The announcement of MTV Classic’s arrival prompted grumbling on social media by critics who accused MTV of resting on its laurels and failing to create new quality programming, while other still-kids-at-heart sounded pretty stoked to see their favorites return to the TV screens. But will they tune in?
Ancillary networks like the soon-to-be MTV Classic will need to pull their weight now that they’re being left out of basic TV packages, as a result of cord cutting and a growing preference for so-called “skinny” bundles.
We’ll see if the classics still have enough pull with nostalgic millennials and Gen-Xers to float the revamped network.