So lately I seem to be watching VH1 every once in a while.  I think it started with the I Love the 90’s show (which definitely brings back a lot of memories).  Not a good channel really, but something to keep on in the background when you’re on the computer.

I came home tonight from a 5 hour study/laptop session at the library, and turned on VH1 since it actually had a show on that at least held my interest for the first few seconds.  Then it hit me (it’s occurred to me before, but even more now): all of VH1’s shows are the same!  I Love the [70’s, 80’s, 90’s], A to Z, The Fabulous Life of … , Biggest Celebrity Beefs, The Best Week Ever, countless others I probably missed and/or have never seen.  Each and every once of them is done in the same format, same style, same everything.  They’re decent shows if you watch them every once in a while, I suppose, but come on VH1… how boring and unimaginative can you get?  The setup for every one of these programs is identical: sit guests (usually celebrities of varying degrees) in front of a backdrop, have them talk, show random stock video clips and stock photos over this, throw in some graphics, and voila!: you have a VH1 show. 

I can understand the I Love the…’0s series being done in the same fashion, but to have an entire lineup of programs done in the same cookie-cutter format is pretty ridiculous.  Maybe in my beginnings as IUSTV’s programming director, I think about this kind of thing more than some people would.  But surely, if you sit and watch about 3 episodes on VH1, of “different” shows, you will quickly see how boring the format is.  I’m sure they have the same staff working on several of these shows.  They probably share the same small set (just swap out the background).  They probably even have the same team of people in charge of gathering video clips and images.  Who knows; the format is so boring and unoriginal that they might have a computer program doing a lot of their editing for them.

Maybe VH1’s main purpose as a channel isn’t to create innovative programming; if they’re just trying to take up time, they’re doing a good job.  If all of their shows weren’t so similar, they’d be great.  But the fact that they’re all done in the exact same format just takes a lot away from it.  And it’s not like they exactly have (m)any other (notable) shows to take away from this lack of originally that is their programming schedule.  Did I mention that they love to run 5 or more episodes of the same program in a row?  And that’s not on special occasion (like a marathon or something); that’s their normal scheduling habit.

I’m fairly certain that within a few years, IUSTV will have a good variety of programming.  And I can honestly say that our programming schedule will be more original and varied than VH1’s is right now.  Hell, it would be easy to make a “VH1-style” show for IUSTV right now, but I don’t really know if I should stoop that low.