MTV News Is Shutting Down After 36 Years Amid Cuts at Paramount Global
It's the end of an era for Gen X'ers and older millennials. After 36 years, Paramount is pulling the plug on MTV News, the alternative news programming that once helped define the cable music network in the '80s and '90s.
The move is part of a larger round of layoffs at parent company Paramount Global, and follows cuts at other media companies like the recent shutdown of Buzzfeed News and widespread layoffs at Vice Media that included the recent cancelation of Vice News Tonight. The most recent iteration of MTV News existed primarily online, with a digital series called MTV News Need to Know, which covered trending topics like pop culture, politics, and social justice issues.
Chris McCarthy, the president and CEO of Paramount Media Networks, MTV and Showtime, informed staff in a memo on Tuesday that the company "[feels] pressure from broader economic headwinds like many of our peers" despite recent successes in streaming.
"As a result, we have made the very hard but necessary decision to reduce our domestic team by approximately 25%,” McCarthy wrote. “Through the elimination of some units and by streamlining others, we will be able to reduce costs and create a more effective approach to our business as we move forward.”
At its peak, MTV News became synonymous with correspondents such as former Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren, Alison Stewart, SuChin Pak, and Gideon Yago. Originally launched as The Week in Rock with Loder at the helm, the programming covered topics that appealed to a younger generation who didn't necessarily feel represented by traditional news programming.
MTV News traditionally provided short, digestible news segments at the top of the hour back when the network was primarily airing music videos, but eventually expanded into specials and town halls—most notably hosting former President Bill Clinton for a town hall addressing gun violence in 1994 called Enough is Enough.
The organization was also the first to break the news of the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain by interrupting scheduled programming on April 8, 1994.
MTV News ultimately didn't fit into Paramount's broader strategy in 2023, despite a recent Comscore of 6 million visitors to the website in March—a slight increase from 5.6 million visitors in March 2022.