Thursday, December 04, 2008

MTV: Where are they now?

While reading about the layoffs going on at Viacom today, I noticed that MTV correspondent John Norris may be among the casualties. This was shocking to me not so much because such a high profile name was on the chopping block, but rather because I had totally forgotten that John Norris was still at MTV, the (former) music network having dropped off my non-essential cultural radar eons ago. No, I'm not a fan of The Hills or The Valley or whatever the heck is broadcast on MTV these days in lieu of, you know, music videos.

So this prompted me to look up what's going on with the original five MTV VJs, who for a few years flew to the heights of the sun before the reality of aging and demographics melted their wax wings and tumbled them to the cold ground that is Zeitgeist. You remember them, of course:

(From left) J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter, all trying to look intimidating.

Yeah, those hip, happening folk who were the cheery faces of MTV in its beginning, years. Where are they now, you ask? Well ...

Mark Goodman (1981-1987): Remains in music, and is now doing a radio show for Sirius Satellite Radio, at least until that entity goes bankrupt. He also has come full circle of sorts as a recurring host on one of MTV's many sister stations, VH1 Classic - at least it still shows videos on a regular basis. Age: Unknown - apparently he's been wise enough not to reveal the year of his birth.

Alan Hunter (1981-1988): Also working with Sirius, and is involved with a film festival in his home town of Birmingham, Alabama. He has done voiceover work for Verizon. Age: 51

Nina Blackwood (1981-1986): Notably posed for Playboy before joining MTV. After leaving the outlet, she held various TV and radio hosting jobs, working for MSNBC and the Discovery Channel, among others. Currently she is also a DJ on Sirius, as well as a rock station in San Diego. Age: 56

Martha Quinn (1981-1991): Probably the biggest breakout star among the original VJs, thanks to her perky, perpetually young looks. Martha went on to do some acting (most notably as Bobby Brady's wife on the unfortunate dramedy series The Bradys and in Clearasil commercials that she was still appearing in well into her 30s). Today she is also on Sirius in a weekly show she hosts from her Malibu house. Age: 49 and still (almost) looking like a teenage. See? It's annoying!

J.J. Jackson (1981-1986): The one of the original five not working for Sirius - probably because he died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 62. (Now you really feel old, eh?) Before he passed, Jackson remained in music as a radio DJ, including a stint at a smooth jazz station in Los Angeles.


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Anonymous said...

J.J. Jackson seemed to come across as a really good guy. He had all of the skills to launch the new way of experiencing music. It is too bad he left us so soon.

Anonymous said...

thank you j.j.!
you were truly cool when we still had racial stigma holding us back. you were fun, articulate and well spoken.
i miss real mtv, and you were a major part of that. this will tip you off, i had no idea you were that much older than me!!!!
you walked the walk.
thank you.