Where Are MTV’s Most Popular VJs Now?
On August 1, 1981, television and music shacked up on a little cable channel called MTV, hosted by a collective of video jockeys or “VJs.” MTV has been through countless iterations and format changes ever since and as it shifted its focus to reality fare like ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Teen Mom’ in recent years, the VJs became less instrumental to the channel’s brand.
As MTV turns 30 today, let’s take a look at what some of the most beloved former VJs and show hosts are up to now.
In the mid-1990s, way before it was mainstream, Curry was an internet entrepreneur and one of the first celebrities with his own website. He was also a pioneer in podcasting — some refer to him as The Podfather because of it — and from 2005-2007 he hosted “Adam Curry’s PodShow” on Sirius Satellite Radio.
These days, he hosts the popular Big App Show — a free app for mobile devices such as iPhones, iPods, and Android phones. USA Today describes it as “… breezy two-to four-minute features on ‘really cool’ apps. [Curry] plays with the app on an iPhone so users can see how it works, rather than forcing them to stare at static screenshots.”
Daly hosted ‘Total Request,’ which later became the flagship show ‘Total Request Live’ — or simply ‘TRL’ — which featured the top ten most most popular videos of the day, determined by viewers who voted online.
In 2002, Daly moved to late-night with the nightly program ‘Last Call with Carson Daly,’ and is also currently the host of NBC’s primetime talent show, ‘The Voice.’
The television version of Carolla’s radio show ‘Loveline’ aired on MTV from 1996-2000 and was co-hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. On it, viewers called in with questions about love and relationships, and Carolla served as the comic relief next to Pinsky’s deeper, more thoughtful remarks.
Carolla later went on to co-create and co-host the TV program ‘The Man Show’ (1999–2004) before co-creating — and often lending his voice — to the cult-favorite prank-call series ‘Crank Yankers’ (2002–2007).
He currently hosts ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ distributed as a podcast on the ACE Broadcasting Network.
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery — better known as Kennedy — hosted ‘Alternative Nation,’ which focused on alternative hits of the day and showed videos from artists such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam.
Kennedy has since hosted programs on the Game Show Network, and from 2005-2008 she was the host of Fox Reality’s ‘Reality Remix’ show.
Since 2009, she’s been a morning drive-time DJ for Los Angeles radio station KYSR 98.7 FM.
The British beauty hosted the ‘American Bandstand’-style show, ‘Club MTV,’ at The Palladium club in New York City. Hit dance videos were interspersed with footage of boogying teenagers and Brown’s trademark phrase, “Wubba Wubba Wubba.”
After leaving MTV, she posed for ‘Playboy’ in 1998 and later worked for ESPN, conducting interviews with football stars, and on a gossip show for E! Entertainment.
Hosts of the groundbreaking two-hour show, ‘Yo! MTV Raps,’ the first hip-hop music program on MTV, Lover and Dré — who shares a name with legendary N.W.A. alumnus Dr. Dre — played videos from up-and-comers and established rap and hip-hop artists.
The show is largely credited for giving the genre a new audience it may not otherwise have had, and helping to popularize such music around the world.
The pair have since recorded an album titled ‘Back up off Me!,’ released on Relativity Records, and participated in the Comedy Central roast of Denis Leary.
In addition, Dré DJ’d for the Beastie Boys and had his own line of urban clothing, Bigga Stuff.
Pinfield hosted ’120 Minutes,’ which highlighted not-yet-mainstream alternative artists such as New Order, The Verve, James, Weezer, Oasis and Radiohead. The show was the platform for the world premiere of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video, which took off and helped launch the Seattle “grunge” sound.
MTV2 revived ’120 Minutes’ as a monthly series in July of 2011, and Pinfield returned as host.
In the years in between, he was Vice President of A&R and Artist Development for Columbia Records, DJ’d a morning drivetime radio show in New York, and was honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his achievements in the music industry.
Jesse Camp won MTV’s first ‘Wanna Be a VJ’ contest in 1998, beating out Dave Holmes. He went on to host ‘Total Request Live (TRL),’ and also hosted the short-lived ‘Lunch with Jesse.’ His stint with MTV ended in 2000, and since then he’s reportedly worked in a pet store and done telemarketing work for a non-profit.
Although Holmes lost the ‘Wanna Be a VJ’ contest, the network hired him to conduct celebrity interviews and he later hosted several other shows such as ’120 Minutes,’ a ‘Real World’ reunion special, and the popular ‘Say What? Karaoke.’ Ironically, his MTV career lasted two years longer than Camp’s did.
Since then, Holmes has hosted shows on Court TV, VH1, and Bravo. He currently works at FX and hosts the daily video podcast ‘A Drink With Dave.’
Before even appearing on MTV, Loder had serious musical cred as a well-known writer for Rolling Stone magazine and as the co-author of Tina Turner’s 1986 memoir, ‘I, Tina.’
He joined MTV in 1987 as host of ‘The Week in Rock,’ which was later expanded and renamed ‘MTV News,’ and it was he who first announced to the world that Kurt Cobain had committed suicide.
Loder has since gone on to appear in a variety of TV shows and movies, and currently serves as host of ‘MTV News 1515,’ a weekly program that covers music, entertainment and pop culture.