It starts off like a Cinderella story: Once upon a time, in 1985, MTV got a nerdy stepsister called VH1. That stood for Video Hits One, and it was a channel aimed at the same lame-o middle-aged demographic that listened to adult-contemporary radio. And yet, despite all the Sting and Billy Joel videos, there was something about this fledgling network — something to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it could be kinda cool.
As the years went by, VH1 grew hipper and edgier, and in 1996, it debuted the irreverent game-changer Pop Up Video. The following year brought Behind the Music, and suddenly, this Cinderella story went all Frankenstein. In the decade that followed, VH1 produced a ton of original programming — some of it smart and centered on music (Legends, Hip Hop Honors), and much of it wacked-out, arguably tasteless reality fare starring has-beens and wannabes.