MTV recorded some 100 objectionable/profane words that kept its censors busy during the 2010 MTV Movie Awards on Sunday. Most were muted out. We've come a long way from the profanity-laden incident via comedian Andrew Dice Clay over two decades ago at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards -- after which MTV banned Clay forever.
MTV is supposed to be hip -- so, like it or not, that means getting big-name talent, as well as salty language and racy images to spice thing up. Should MTV's advertisers be worried? If you are advertising on a live MTV event these days, it comes with the territory. This is the same neighborhood as Comedy Central's "South Park," and increasingly a number of basic cable original series on the likes of TNT, FX and USA Network.
Cable networks have always wanted it both ways: to be edgy, cool, and original when it comes to its programming, while at the same time grabbing those big TV marketers' budgets just like a big broadcasting channel. The latter means acting more like a channel for all-family programming.
At times like these, however, the cable industry seems to be missing out on whatever professional therapy it has been getting, not realizing fully what it really is.
In recent years, MTV lost the new digital/social media battle when it came to MySpace -- now to Facebook and Twitter. It shouldn't want to lose the last remaining area where young folks seemingly go to see big entertainment talent make fools of themselves by dancing in weird outfits, cursing, or offering up the now obligatory girl-on-girl kissing.
I'm sure there aren't any media-buying agencies executives calling up their MTV reps yelling about the profanity on MTV Movie Awards. Things have changed -- and MTV isn't going to be banning scores of major Hollywood talent for their live, unedited remarks.
Decades ago, local community officials were worried about the change that would come when cable entered their communities. Specifically, there were concerns over language, occasional nudity (if not its more serious cousin, porn.)
Now some 30 years later, the edgy, adult stuff on cable comes with an apology. It shouldn't.