VH1 Classic’s “Upward Trajectory” Assisted By Channel Shedding Nearly All Of Its Staff

Feb 17th, 2007 // 5 Comments

classicvh1.jpgThanks to Jossip for delivering VH1 general manager Tom Calderone’s memo on the future of VH1 Classic, which, despite having nearly all of its staff cut during this week’s layoffs, will soldier on. While there’s no word on the future of Eddie Trunk in the memo, we did pick out this highlight: Michele Dix has been tapped to “develop the programming for the channel that salutes the music icons of the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s.” We did a little digging and found out that, during her tenure at MTV Networks, Dix has had a hand in developing “icon-saluting” shows like Meet The Barkers and Doggy Fizzle Televizzle; expect I Got Married By MC Hammer: The Show to be announced any day now.

The full memo after the jump.

Subject: Vh1 Classic

It’s been a tough week, and I’ll be coming around to talk to all of you over the next few weeks about how we’re moving forward. But before the dust settles, I want to dispel any rumors or speculation that we’re shutting down VH1 Classic. That’s just not true.

Our friends at Classic created a channel that is truly a shining, beloved star in the television and music universe. Now in 45 million homes, the channel expanded to a full 24-hour programming wheel this past year, debuting a number of now signature franchises including “BBC Crown Jewels,” “Classic Albums” and “Hangin’ With.” taped in the VH1 Classic studio. New episodes of all will debut throughout 2007.

We just announced that VH1 Classic will present its first tentpole event by airing the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony live in its entirety next month, delivering appearances by Van Halen, R.E.M, Patti Smith and The Ronettes.

Typical of the channel’s commitment to being THE source for news and developments in the classic music world, VH1 Classic aired The Police’s press conference this past Monday which included live performances of seminal songs like “Roxanne” and “Message In A Bottle.”

Last year, we launched VH1 Classic Records which has already yielded the #1 music DVD “KISSology: Volume One” — with more to come. We also just expanded the VH1 Classic channel on VSPOT. And we’ll soon have news about the channel’s growing presence on the web with a dedicated Classic vertical as well as VH1 Classic’s first-ever public affairs campaign.

The painful staff reductions we had to make will ensure that the channel continues to grow exponentially as we invest even more in VH1 Classic’s programming. VH1 Classic is an even bigger priority now, and I will make sure that the channel continues its upward trajectory. To help us keep the momentum going, some key functions are being absorbed into the VH1 mothership:

* Michele Dix, who continues to develop music-centered shows for VH1, will now also develop the programming for the channel that salutes the music icons of the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s.

* Rick Krim and his group will foster relationships with the classic music world, ensuring that classic artists see us as their biggest supporters. To help achieve that, Erik Luftglass re-joins the
VH1 fold.

* Lee Rolontz will oversee production duties for the channel while Jay Moran from the VH1 Classic team becomes part of her group.

* Ben Zurier will manage the programming strategy for the channel with the help of Mike Lopez and Nan Tozzi who now join VH1.

When you look at the gigantic strides this channel has made, it’s difficult to believe that VH1 Classic was just launched over 6 years ago. Our deepest appreciation goes to Eric Sherman and his team who worked so passionately to set it on its path of success. We are in awe, and we can only hope to match your enthusiasm and commitment.

Thank you.

Viacom Staff Slash: VH1 Classics WILL Survive, Do New & Exciting Things, Not Employ Anybody [Jossip]

  1. Chris Molanphy

    “Just six years ago”? Calderone thinks that’s a short period of time in pop culture? That’s three dog’s ages. Doctorates have been completed faster.

  2. Brian Raftery

    I wish they would refer to 60s/70s/80s artists as “classic rockers,” rather than “classic artists.” It makes me think they’re developing a new half-hour chat-show about Rachmaninoff.

  3. gorillavsmarykate

    Raftery- that would be “classic Rach-er.”


  4. Hallux Valgus

    I’m ashamed to say that I would actually get excited for I Got Married by MC Hammer.

  5. drewheyman

    how much staff do you need to show the same crappy made for TV movies day after day?

    do they really need more than 1 guy?

    they should all be fired for ruining what was a pretty decent music channel for its first 5 years.

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