The MTV Movie Awards airs this Sunday night, a television event that is always over-the-top raunchy and irreverent, chock full of every celeb imaginable, and consequently, sure to attract enough teens and tweens to make it one of the most watched television events of the year.
I always find it interesting what young people are watching on TV. This isn’t the easiest information to find. Sure, you can pop on Nielsen’s website at any time and see the most popular shows that everyone are watching (usually with a few weeks time lag), both broadcast and cable, but this doesn’t tell you what teenagers specifially are watching? (or even young people 12-34, which is MTV’s target audience).
Every week my Twitter followers see me Tweet the link to an obscure site that, on Fridays, lists the Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among different age groups according to Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data. I always scroll down and peek at their list of top shows watched by Teens 12-17-years-old. During the Jersey Shore season, guaranteed this vulgar reality show will always be the #1 show across all of television watched by teens (usually followed by Family Guy, American Idol and a few others). Shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom are helping MTV maintain status as the top network watched by younger viewers. Such has been the case for years now.
Enter the MTV Movie Awards, stage left.
The Movie Awards has never been the powerhouse that its sister show has, The Video Music Awards (VMAs). The VMA’s effortlessly clinches the spot each year as the #1 cable telecast of the entire year watched by 12-34-year-olds—it easily dominated in 2011 with the cross-dressing Gaga at the helm. In short, the VMA’s are the Super Bowl of cable. But the MTV Movie Awards draw a pretty large crowd as well, especially for a summer telecast.
Last year the MTV Movie Awards had a huge night, with record numbers, becoming #3 of the top 5 cable telecasts of 2Q 2011, driving record traffic to MTV.com, and dominating social conversation between Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.
Sadly, this popular show always offers plenty of content that is racy and vile, elements that, if parents were to actually watch the show with their kids, would surely prompt them to hit the OFF button. For example, last year’s lesbian sex scene where Natalie Portman’s panties were literally ripped off (MTV has mastered the trick of “showing sexual content without actually showing nudity”), or the year prior when Christina Aguilera sang a song about her genitals and the camera pushed in for a close up of her crotch at the end of the performance (I’m really not making this stuff up).
Each year the show also features performances or appearances by plenty of role models who really shouldn’t be role models. For example, Russel Brand is hosting (I probably don’t need to say any more there). And the ubiquitously “high” Wiz Khalifa is scheduled to perform Sunday…that is, if he can keep himself out of jail long enough (Khalifa was busted twice within 10 days for marijuana earlier this month). This, of course, is brushed off as no big deal by many. I guess the news would be really discouraging if pot smoking among teenagers has gone up lately.
So parents… make sure that your TVs are not tuned into MTV this Sunday night. Youth workers, you may want to put your own kids to bed and take a quick peek at the show just to see what millions of young people are absorbing.
Or, better yet, if you don’t want to watch it, you can wait for my article about the evening. You can catch our summary of last year’s MTV Movie Awards here, an annual gift that David and I wrote for you each year… a gift because then you don’t have to watch it! I’ll be writing this year’s article Sunday night and posting it for you next Monday on our Youth Culture Window page.
It’s sad. I love movies, and there are plenty of good family films this summer. Too bad a show “about movies” on the network most watched by young people has to be marinated in fecal matter.