Where Will Janet Lead Us

Last night I made a bet with someone I work with. I bet a cup of coffee that within six months, there are changes at MTV because of what happened Sunday night at the Super Bowl.

I believe CBS’s protestation that they didn’t know the specifics of what would happen. Still, it should be no surprise at Viacom or CBS, because what MTV produced was pretty much mainstream MTV. And, if there’s a claim that the Super Bowl was seen by a young audience – who do they think is watching MTV?

Without a 16 year old in the house, I wouldn’t know. If you don’t watch MTV, or just remember it for what it was, you don’t know. The “M” in MTV might once have stood for music, but music is hardly what drives MTV.

Much of MTV’s schedule is made up of reality programming. Instead of contests of skill or guile or athleticism, these reality shows are about hot young bodies in close proximity. There is plenty of liquor and plenty of hooking up.

After a while, especially to a teenage fed a steady diet, this stuff starts seeming mainstream.

Recently, Steffie has been trying to convince me that in one Real World epsiode a 19 year old was drinking alcohol. I didn’t believe it – couldn’t believe it. Now, I’m not so sure.

So, why do I think MTV will tbe the sacrificial lamb? CBS has tried to divorce itself from the Janet Jackson breast baring, saying it was an MTV production. Still, they are owned by the same company, Viacom. This half time show debacle was one of those synergistic things that companies bragged about as we witnessed consolidation of mass media outlets over the past decade.

At some point someone with an agenda will start showing that what ran on the Super Bowl is closer to the MTV norm than non-viewers realize. That’s when the you know what will hit the fan.

I’m thinking I get coffee out of this.

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