VH1, (not to be confused with H1V) or Veterinarian Hits #1 (previously known as Van Halen [is] #1!, where they would play nothing but hair metal and Van Halen videos all day), is a television network that was launched in 1999, originally slated by TV Guide as "The potential MTV killer!" It promised to air "only the finest programming related to popular music videos, veterinary sciences, and when possible, vet-themed music videos."
Right from the start, it was a colossal failure.
Immediately, VH1 launched with a set line-up of programming, including the following shows:
- Animal Doctors
- Confessions of a Psychic Vet
- Real Life Animal Stories
- Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!
- Weekly showings of Homeward Bound 2
- Pop Up Video
Ratings were abominable, and reviews were even worse. Roger Ebert was said to have uttered "Oh dear God. . . Shut it off." Matthew Goodwrench of TV Guide wrote "Perhaps if they had a single show worth viewing, they might be worth turning the channel to. Instead, I fear that these shows could kill a small child."
In early 2000, VH1 caught a break when the number of viewers spiked to over 100,000 when Bruce Campbell hosted an episode of Dogs, Dogs, Dogs! and gave the network's producers an idea: More celebrities, less animals.
VH1 began its second season with a revised line-up consisting of the following shows:
- Dogs, Dogs, Dogs! with Bruce Campbell
- Pop Up Video with Leonid Brezhnev
- This Week in Music with Lizzie Borden
- Driven with Alanis Morissette and Leonard Nimoy
- Watchin' tha Grass Grizzow! with Goldie Hawn
- Who Wants to Fuck Destiny's Child? with Ali G
- The Top 20 Music Videos Featuring Animals with Ron Weasley
- Whassup wit Paris Hilton? with Paris Hilton
- Some reality show where some washed up pseudocelebrity tries to lose weight
- Tool Academy, the only school in the world where literacy is optional!
- "Why Do Asian Women Love Miniature Versions of Things?" with Tricia Takanawa
- America's Funniest Home Videos with variable hosts, usually Bob Saget
- I Love Hades, volumes 1, 2, 3, I Love Hades 3D, and I Love Hades Strikes Back, hosted by Charon
Suddenly, the little network which could (If it had better programming) had become the little network that could do anything it wanted, just as long as it had celebrity endorsement. Viewers numbered in the millions just to hear what one of the now-grown-up kids from their favorite 1980s family sitcom had to say about current popular musical acts, and animals. MTV's stranglehold on America's youth was starting to fade, and eventually was relegated to reality shows about snooping through an attractive stranger's bedroom and thirty-two seasons of Survivor.
Nowadays VH1, bloated, lazy and coasting on its own reputation, only offers one show, aired 24/7, called I Love Alphabetically Driving the 100 Most Awesomely Fabulous Fit Celebrities of the 90's Behind the Surreal Music Hogan Knows Best. It features interviews with every celebrity ever known to man, every celebrity journalist, hair stylist, Daily Show-Coorespondent-For-One-Week, and gardener, and for some inexplicable reason, Flava Flav and Michael Ian Black.