MTV Debut Events

 MTV debuts Aug. 1,1981 with a clip of the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." The channel confirms the concept of cable niche programming, reshapes music marketing and becomes a symbol of youth culture. The first MTV VJs are Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn. The channel ends the year with 2.1 million subscribing households.

"I Want My MTV" ad campaign arrives March 1 featuring Pete Townshend, Stevie Nicks, Mick Jagger, Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, the Police and David Bowie. The MTV logo debuts, and its promotional clip of astronauts planting a MTV flag on the moon is one of the year's most enduring TV images.

Michael Jackson's "Beat It" has a world premiere in March, the channel's first clip by an African-American artist. In December, Jackson debuts the 14-minute "Thriller" film. "The Basement Tapes," a weekly video contest for unsigned bands, bows and bestows a $100,000 EMI recording contract on the first victor, a Seattle rock quartet called Rail.

"Dial MTV," the first viewer request show, debuts. "Downtown" Julie Brown joins the VJ ranks. MTV airs the anti-drug "Just Say No" spots created by the Department of Health and Human Services. By year's end, the channel initiates its own public service campaign, "Rock Against Drugs," the first of many efforts to engage viewers with social programming.

Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video premieres on the channel. "MTV Rockumentary" debuts. The Ace Award-winning series from MTV News profiles R.E.M., Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Madonna, the B-52's, Bruce Springsteen and others. MTV wins its first Peabody Award for "Decade," a documentary that links music to 
The following is a timeline of notable milestones in MTV's history compiled from information provided by MTV.

Debuts: "MTV Unplugged," "Sex in the '90s" from MTV News and the comedy series' "Totally Pauly," featuring Pauly Shore, and "The Ben Stiller Show." MTV Europe arrives in Israel, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Kenya. MTV Brasil launches a 24-hour Portuguese-language network spotlighting music videos by Brazilian and international artists. 

Animation shows debut with "Liquid Television," presaging "Beavis and Butt-Head" (1993), "Daria" (1997) and "Celebrity Deathmatch" (1998). Nirvana's video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" premieres. The channel also premieres call-in show "Rock Line on MTV," while "MTV Unplugged" presents its first acoustic rap show with LL Cool J, MC Lyte, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. MTV Europe airs a feed to Russia, making it the first non-Soviet channel to be broadcast 24 hours a day in that country. MTV launches a global on-air AIDS awareness campaign with "Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself."

The third season of "The Real World" features an openly gay cast member, Pedro Zamora, publicly coping with HIV. Soon after the season ends, Zamora succumbs to the disease. Fans turn to MTV as they mourn the death of Kurt Cobain. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley lock lips at the MTV Music Video Awards. Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunite for "Unledded," while "The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over" reunites band members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit. Tom Jones hosts the inaugural MTV European Music Awards live from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

MTV launches its sixth and seventh international networks, MTV Mandarin (for Chinese audiences in Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong) and MTV Southeast Asia (a customized 24-hour English-language channel for audiences in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore). "The Real World" relocates to London. MTV Books kicks off with the best-selling "Real Real World" and "MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: This Book Sucks." The arrival of brings the channel into the digital era.

MTV moves its studio to Times Square and launches "MTV Live," the daily predecessor to "Total Request Live" (aka "TRL"). Animated sitcom "Daria" debuts as does "Headbanger's Ball." Internationally, MTV expands with local programming into the United Kingdom and Ireland, Nordic territories, Italy, Germany and Australia. "Live From the 10 Spot" premieres with the Rolling Stones. Puff Daddy and Sting pay tribute to the Notorious B.I.G., singing "I'll Be Missing You" on the Video Music Awards.

Anti-violence campaign "Fight for Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Violence" wins an Emmy Award. MTV Europe, with UNAIDS and the World Bank, produces "Staying Alive," a half-hour documentary hosted by George Michael focusing on the experiences of six young people from six different countries, all affected by HIV and AIDS. "TRL" mania rules. The show, hosted by Carson Daly, mixes a live audience with viewer-on-the-street interviews and Web comments. "TRL" fans of the Backstreet Boys overrun Times Square outside the MTV studios during an appearance by the teen-pop superstars.

Britney Spears is a teen queen no longer after a saucy performance of "Oops . . . I Did It Again" on the Video Music Awards. "Jackass" debuts, a weekly comedy show devoted to ridiculous pranks and outrageous stunts performed by stars Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera. An instant hit, it spins off two more series, "Wildboyz" and "Viva La Bam." MTV expands in France, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain.

MTV strikes mobile deals with Verizon and Amp'd Mobile. MTV Overdrive, mtvU Über and MTV World debut. "Murderball" is nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, feature, and "Hustle & Flow" wins an Oscar for best original song with "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Terrence Howard also picks up a nomination for best actor in a leading role. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and think MTV partner to form "think: Education," an ongoing campaign that uses all MTV platforms to emphasize the need to graduate from high school and be prepared for the responsibilities of college, work and citizenship. 

MTV Networks Music Group launches digital music service Urge, which spotlights original and exclusive programming, subscriptions and a la carte access to more than 2 million songs from 110,000 artists in 18 genres. In response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, MTV holds an Alternative Spring Break and partners with the United Way to send 100 students to the Gulf Coast to help rebuilding efforts.