The era of actually playing music on MTV ended decades ago. Since then, wave upon wave of reality TV programming has taken its place. In true MTV fashion, they’ve been wacky and off-the-wall, perfect for those of us with a very limited attention span. So limited, you probably forgot about most of them.
1. “Diary” (2000)
“You think you know…but you have no idea.” It was the iconic opening voiceover to every episode of “Diary,” the docu-series that followed the everyday life of a celeb at the time. The episodes were a who’s-who of the Billboard charts: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Sum 41, Timbaland, Hilary Duff, and more.
2. “FANatic” (1998–2000)
MTV would basically pair-up celebs with their biggest FANATICS, and have them interview each other for half an hour. Doesn’t sound like anything special, but you have to remember: this was back in the day before social media, when fans had limited access to their favorite stars.
3. “Singled Out” (1995–1998)
A dating show where the main contestant was behind a partition and had to narrow-down the 50 potential dates with description only. Other means included cleaning out their ears and presenting it to the contestant as seen in the video above. It was weird. It was the ‘90s. Hosted by Jenny McCarthy, who was later replaced by Carmen Electra.
4. “Remote Control” (1987–1990)
A game show that quizzed contestants on music, movies, and TV. It took place in someone’s basement, and featured Colin Quinn as a sidekick.
5. “Fear” (2000–2002)
A group of people would be thrown into a supposedly haunted location, and filmmed while exploring over two nights. This was basically MTV’s way of capitalizing on the popularity of The Blair Witch Project, but we have to admit it was legitimately terrifying at times.
6. “Undressed” (1999–2002)
MTV’s edgy and campy after-hours series (scripted) that followed the sexual and romantic relationships of various characters in Los Angeles.
6. “The State” (1993–1995)
A bizarre and subversive sketch comedy show that featured the talents of Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, David Wain, and more.
7. “House of Style” (1989–2000)
A reflection of the early ‘90s “supermodel craze,” the show was hosted by Cindy Crawford and focused on fashion, models, and celebrities.
8. “Clone High” (2002–2003)
An animated series that centered on a high school populated by the clones of famous figures due to a strange military experiment.
9. “The Jon Stewart Show” (1993–1995)
Before becoming the humorous political commentator he is today, Jon Stewart had a late-night show on MTV where he interviewed celebrity guests like The Notorious B.I.G., Danzig, Blind Melon, and Courteney Cox.
10. “Becoming” (2001-2003)
Fans of a musician or group would have the opportunity to remake one of their iconic music videos.
11. “Lip Service” (1993–1994)
A game show where contestants engaged in lip-synching competitions. Yes, lip-synching competitions.
12. “Tell Me Moore”
We couldn’t find a video of this (UNFORTUNATELY), nor do we really remember ever seeing it air, but apparently MTV had (or had in the works) a talk show for Mandy Moore.
13. “Spyder Games” (2001)
A soap opera centered on the lives of a wealthy family that produces video games.
14. “It’s On with Alexa Chung” (2009)
It wasn’t that long ago when “It’s On” was on, but it was so short-lived that it might have flown under your radar. Looking back, it’s kind of a testament to how fast entertainment culture is; most of these interviews already feel so dated.
15. “Date My Mom” (2004–2006)
A dating show where a younger male or female would go on a date with three different moms, who would then try to convince the main contestant to choose their son or daughter.
16. “The Grind” (1992–1997)
Literally just people dancing to house music and occasionally rap and hip-hop.
17. “The Cut” (1997–1999)
A musical talent competition show that was hosted by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.
18. “Dismissed” (2001)
A dating show where one person goes on a date with two competitors simultaneously.