120 Minutes

Last updated
120 Minutes
Created by Dave Kendall
Presented byDave Kendall (1988–1992)
Lewis Largent (1992–1995)
Matt Pinfield (1995–1999, 2011–2013)
Jim Shearer (2002–2003)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasonsOriginal: 17
Revival: 1
No. of episodesOriginal: approx. 839 [1]
Revival: 15 (aired)
Running time120 Minutes (80–90 without commercials)
Original network MTV (1986–2000)
MTV2 (2001–2003; 2011–2013)
Original releaseOriginal:
March 10, 1986 (1986-03-10) – May 4, 2003 (2003-05-04)
July 30, 2011 (2011-07-30) 
February 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)

120 Minutes is a television program in the United States dedicated to the alternative music genre, that originally aired on MTV from 1986 to 2000, and then aired on MTV's associate channel MTV2 from 2001 to 2003.

Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1980s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock. Although the genre evolved in the late 1970s and 1980s, music anticipating the sound of the genre can be found as early as the 1960s, with bands such as The Velvet Underground and artists such as Syd Barrett.

MTV American pay television channel

MTV is an American pay television channel launched on August 1, 1981 that serves as the flagship property of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom headquartered in New York City.

MTV2 American cable and satellite television channel spun off of MTV

MTV2 is an American pay television channel owned by the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel was initially broadcast free-to-air in selected markets, where the former all-request music channel known as The Box was broadcast.


After its cancellation, MTV2 premiered a replacement program called Subterranean . A similar but separate MTV Classic program, also titled 120 Minutes , plays many classic alternative videos that were regularly seen on 120 Minutes in its heyday.

120 Minutes returned as a monthly program on MTV2 on July 30, 2011, [2] with Matt Pinfield as host. [3]

Matt Pinfield is a music personality and TV host best known as a video deejay on MTV and VH1. He lives in San Francisco, California, and previously resided in Harrison, New Jersey and East Brunswick Township. From 2011 to 2013 he was the host of the MTV2 alternative music program 120 Minutes, which he also hosted from 1995 to 1999.


The early years

120 Minutes' 120 Minutes' most recognisable logo used during Matt Pinfield's tenure from 1995-1998. 120Minutes.png
120 Minutes' 120 Minutes' most recognisable logo used during Matt Pinfield's tenure from 1995-1998.

120 Minutes began on March 10, 1986. [4] [ unreliable source? ] For the first ten years of 120 Minutes, viewers could see artists as varied as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Bronski Beat, New Order, The Replacements, Flipp, The Verve, James, Slowdive, Weezer, Robyn Hitchcock, The Stone Roses, Oasis, 10,000 Maniacs, Obojeni Program, Blur, Butthole Surfers, Radiohead, KMFDM, Kate Bush, Ramones, XTC, Morrissey, The Smashing Pumpkins, Kitchens of Distinction, Sarah McLachlan, They Might Be Giants, Dinosaur Jr., Rage Against The Machine, Hüsker Dü, The Offspring, The Original Sins and Bad Religion. Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" received a world premiere on 120 Minutes, but soon proved so popular that the channel began to air it during its regular daytime rotation. For a time in the mid-1990s, a companion program called Alternative Nation aired every weeknight on MTV.

The Jesus and Mary Chain Scottish rock band

The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. After signing to independent label Creation Records, they released their first single "Upside Down" in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy was released to critical acclaim in 1985 on major label WEA. The band went on to release five more studio albums before disbanding in 1999. They reunited in 2007.

Bronski Beat are an English synthpop trio which achieved success in the mid-1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit "Smalltown Boy", from their debut album The Age of Consent, which was their only US Billboard Hot 100 single. All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues. The initial line-up, which recorded the majority of the band's hits, consisted of Jimmy Somerville (vocals), Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek.

New Order (band) British rock band

New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980 by vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris. The band formed after the demise of Joy Division, following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis; they were joined by Gillian Gilbert on keyboards later that year. New Order's integration of post-punk with electronic and dance music made them one of the most acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. They were the flagship band for Manchester-based independent record label Factory Records and its nightclub The Haçienda, and worked in long-term collaboration with graphic designer Peter Saville.

From MTV to MTV2

As time went on, and MTV found television reality series like The Real World immensely profitable, the program found its time slot pushed further back. As this was happening, the program's playlist was becoming more and more mainstream, playing the likes of Sum 41 and Staind, and the program was more frequently preempted (usually without any warning) for reruns of The Real World, Loveline , and Undressed before being removed from the airwaves in the summer of 2000. In 2001, the program returned to the airwaves on MTV2, where it returned to the style of music it was known for. [5]

Sum 41 Canadian rock band

Sum 41 is a Canadian rock band from Ajax, Ontario. Originally called Kaspir, the band was formed in 1996 and currently consists of lead vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Deryck Whibley, guitarist and backing vocalist Dave Baksh, guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Tom Thacker, bassist and backing vocalist Jason "Cone" McCaslin, and drummer Frank Zummo.

Staind American rock band

Staind is an American rock band formed in 1995. The original lineup consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, lead guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist and backing vocalist Johnny April, and drummer Jon Wysocki. The lineup has been stable outside of the 2011 departure of Wysocki, who was replaced by Sal Giancarelli. Staind has recorded seven studio albums: Tormented (1996), Dysfunction (1999), Break the Cycle (2001), 14 Shades of Grey (2003), Chapter V (2005), The Illusion of Progress (2008), and Staind (2011). The band's activity became more sporadic after their self-titled release, with Lewis pursuing a solo country music career and Mushok subsequently joining the band Saint Asonia, but they have continued to tour on and off in the following years. As of 2016, Lewis has reiterated that the band has not broken up, and will possibly create another album, but that his current focus is on his solo career. Staind most recently performed live in 2017, and as of 2018, they are on hiatus. The band has sold over 15 million records worldwide. Many of their singles have reached high positions on US rock and all-format charts as well, including "It's Been Awhile", "Fade", "Price to Play", "So Far Away", and "Right Here".

Loveline is a syndicated radio call-in program in North America, offering medical and relationship advice to listeners, often with the assistance of guests, typically actors and musicians. Its host through most of its run was Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was paired with a radio personality.


On May 4, 2003, program was canceled with no formal announcement from MTV2. Jim Shearer, the current host at the time, shared the screen with the creator of 120 Minutes, Dave Kendall, as well as Matt Pinfield. [5] The two "classic era" hosts shared their favorite videos from over the years (a full playlist for the final episode can be found here [6] ), finally ending with the selection of Siouxsie and the Banshees's "Kiss Them for Me" as the final video aired. [7]

Jim Shearer is a VJ and was host of the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown and was the "music expert" on VH1's morning show Big Morning Buzz Live. Currently, Shearer is a host on Sirius XM's VOLUME channel.

Dave Kendall is a British-born journalist, editor, producer and VJ. He was first known to the public as the creator and host of MTV's 120 Minutes, an alternative music program that played Sunday nights at midnight from 1986 through the 1990s.

Siouxsie and the Banshees English rock band

Siouxsie and the Banshees were a British rock band, formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin. They have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts. Mojo rated guitarist John McGeoch in their list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" for his work on "Spellbound". The Times cited the group as "one of the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era".

120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield

120 Minutes made its return to MTV2 on July 31, 2011, at 1 am ET. Matt Pinfield reprised his role as the host and the program was formally called 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield. The revived program initially aired on a monthly basis, but returned to a weekly format in late November 2011. It aired Fridays 6 am-8 am on MTV2. In addition to videos and interviews from alternative rock and indie rock artists, the program also featured music from underground hip hop, alternative hip hop, electronica, turntablism and dubstep artists. 120 Minutes also aired as a two-minute clip in a series called 120 Seconds which can be seen on MTVhive.com.

120 Minutes was taken off the MTV2 schedule without announcement. The last airing was February 1, 2013. A two-hour indie block called Artists to Watch took its slot during the same Friday 7AM-9AM ET block. However, that program stopped airing as of May 2013.

As of 2018, MTV's sister channel MTV Classic (formerly called VH1 Classic) airs a similar program with the name 120 Minutes (formerly called "The Alternative") on its Sunday midnight time slot (on which the original show aired). This version of the show, however, has no host and highlights more well established alternative artists of the 1980s and 1990s; mostly replaying videos that originally aired on MTV.

[3] [8]

List of 120 Minutes hosts

The following MTV VJs hosted 120 Minutes on a regular basis. [5]

120 Minutes albums

Never Mind the Mainstream

In 1991, two CDs were released entitled "Never Mind the Mainstream: The Best of MTV's 120 Minutes" volumes 1 and 2 and featured many songs featured on the program. Artists included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, R.E.M., Sinéad O'Connor, Ministry, Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth and Violent Femmes. The title referenced the Sex Pistols' landmark album Never Mind the Bollocks , but fortuitously recalled the title of Nirvana's Nevermind album which was released near-simultaneously.

Volume One:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
  2. Soul Asylum – Sometime To Return
  3. The Stone Roses – Fools Gold (Single Edit)
  4. The Mission UK – Wasteland
  5. Bob Mould – See A Little Light (CD Bonus Track)
  6. The Church – Under The Milky Way
  7. Cocteau Twins – Carolyn's Fingers (CD Bonus Track)
  8. Julian Cope - World Shut Your Mouth
  9. Sinéad O'Connor – Mandinka
  10. Sonic Youth – Kool Thing
  11. Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – Balloon Man
  12. World Party – Put The Message In The Box (CD Bonus Track)
  13. XTC – Dear God
  14. They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng
  15. Camper Van Beethoven – Eye Of Fatima (Pt. 1)
  16. Modern English – I Melt With You (CD Bonus Track)

Volume Two:

  1. R.E.M. – Orange Crush
  2. Public Image Ltd. – This Is Not A Love Song
  3. Ramones – Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?
  4. X – Burning House Of Love (CD Bonus Track)
  5. Ministry – Stigmata
  6. Morrissey – Everyday Is Like Sunday
  7. The Jesus And Mary Chain – Head On (CD Bonus Track)
  8. Echo And The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
  9. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
  10. New Order – The Perfect Kiss
  11. Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
  12. The Sugarcubes – Birthday (CD Bonus Track)
  13. Hüsker Dü – Could You Be The One?
  14. Faith No More – We Care A Lot
  15. Violent Femmes – Gone Daddy Gone
  16. Wire – Eardrum Buzz (CD Bonus Track)

120 Minutes Live

In 1998, an album was released by Atlantic Records featuring 14 of the best and most memorable live performances on 120 Minutes from the 1990s.

  1. Oasis  – "Supersonic"
  2. Morphine  – "Honey White"
  3. Porno For Pyros  – "Kimberly Austin"
  4. Evan Dando  – "It's About Time"
  5. P.J. Harvey  – "C'mon Billy"
  6. Weezer  – "Undone – The Sweater Song"
  7. Violent Femmes  – "Kiss Off"
  8. They Might Be Giants  – "Particle Man"
  9. Sex Pistols  – "Pretty Vacant"
  10. Bad Religion  – "American Jesus"
  11. Victoria Williams with Lou Reed  – "Crazy Mary"
  12. Björk  – "Aeroplane"
  13. The Verve Pipe  – "Villains"
  14. Radiohead  – "Fake Plastic Trees"

Related Research Articles

VH1 American cable television network

VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.

NickMusic is an American pay television network that is owned by Viacom and is under the editorial control of the children's cable network Nickelodeon as the network's sixth brand extension in its history. It is a subsidiary of the "Nickelodeon Group" division of Viacom's Media Networks division, and mainly carries music video and music-related programming from younger pop artists that appeal to Nickelodeon's target audience, with some videos edited for content to meet a blanket TV-PG TV Parental Guidelines rating applied across the network's broadcast day, or substituted with a lyric video instead.

BET Jams Digital cable hip-hop and urban contemporary music channel

BET Jams is an American pay television network controlled by BET Networks and owned by Viacom Media Networks. The channel features hip-hop and urban contemporary music videos. The network, formerly known as MTV Jams, was rebranded under the BET banner on October 5, 2015.

120 Minutes is an alternative rock music video program that debuted in August 2004 on VH1 Classic and currently airs on MTV Classic. The program follows a similar format to that of 120 Minutes, which aired on MTV from 1986 to 2003.

C4 (television channel) New Zealand television channel

C4 was a New Zealand television channel owned and operated by MediaWorks New Zealand. C4 was available on both digital terrestrial and satellite platforms and played music around the clock and had some speciality music shows such as HomeGrown, Video Hits and Biggest Records Right Now. The channel was originally launched in 2003 as a re-branding of TV4 which had been broadcasting since 1997. On 1 May 2010, as C4 had been moving away from music programming since 2008, the jukebox side was split off and was re-launched as C4 2. C4 2 was only available on digital Freeview terrestrial and satellite platforms. At the end of 2010 an announcement was made that MediaWorks would again re-brand the current C4 channel as FOUR, which meant C4 2 would become just C4. C4 shut down on 26 June 2014 at 1 am. It was replaced by The Edge TV on 27 June 2014 at 4 pm.

<i>Headbangers Ball</i> music television program

Headbangers Ball was a music television program consisting of heavy metal music videos airing on MTV, MTV2, MTV Australia, MTV Rocks, MTV Adria, MTV Brand New, MTV Portugal, MTV Finland, MTV Arabia, MTV Norway, MTV Sweden, MTV Denmark, MTV Greece, MTV Türkiye, MTV Israel, MTV Hungary, MTV Japan; MTV Brasil aired a program with a similar premise, named Fúria Metal. The show began on MTV on April 18, 1987, playing heavy metal and hard rock music videos late at night, from both well-known and more obscure artists. The show offered a stark contrast to Top 40 music videos shown during the day.

MTV Rocks (UK & Ireland) 24-hour alternative music MTV network channel

MTV Rocks is a British pay television music channel operated by Viacom International Media Networks Europe. Its programming consists of 24-hour non-stop rock/alternative music.

<i>VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown</i> television series

The 20 was a weekly television show that aired on the VH1 cable television network in the United States. The long-running series began in 1994 as the VH1 Top 10 Countdown, as part of VH1's "Music First" re-branding effort. Over the years a variety of hosts counted down the top ten or twenty music videos of the week. The order of countdown was originally decided by a mix of record sales, radio airplay, video spins, message board posts, and conventional mail. The series finale aired unexpectedly without any ceremony on November 28, 2015, with the last number one on the show belonging to Drake's "Hotline Bling".

Say What? is a music video series that aired on American MTV in 1998. It was created at a time when MTV was being heavily criticized for not playing as many music videos as it had in the past. In an attempt to remedy this problem, five shows were created that centered on videos: 12 Angry Viewers, MTV Live, Artist's Cut, Total Request, and Say What?.


WKMK and WTHJ are two radio stations simulcasting a country music format. The stations are licensed to Eatontown and Bass River Township, New Jersey, respectively. The station is owned by Press Communications. WKMK's transmitter is located at exit 105 of the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls. WTHJ's transmitter is located on the tower of Philadelphia television station WWSI/62 located in Tuckerton in extreme southern Ocean County. The studios are located in Neptune, New Jersey.

120 Minutes is a British music television programme that was broadcast nightly at 1am on MTV Two. In the tradition of the American show of the same name, it showcased music videos from "the newest, most innovative acts in rock, left field and electronic music".

Flashback is an American radio show syndicated by Westwood One. Flashback plays a diverse mix of classic rock from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Other show elements include newscasts, classic TV and movie clips, commercials and comedy bits to create thematic segments from the 1960s into the 1990s. The four-hour program is syndicated to over 200 radio affiliates in the United States and Canada.

MTV Classic (Australia and New Zealand) Australian television network

MTV Classic is an Australian and New Zealand subscription television music channel. The channel focused on music from the 1980s to 2000s. The channel first launched in Australia on 22 April 1995 and in New Zealand on 1 June 2011. On 1 July 2011 MTV International channels launched new logos

VH1 (Polish TV channel) Polish music channel

VH1 Poland is a Polish pay television music channel from VIMN Polska. It was launched on December 1, 2005, replacing MTV Classic, another Polish MTV channel which used to broadcast mainly classic videos. VH1 Poland shows almost only music-based programs and plays a much broader range of videos than its predecessor. Many themed music programs were broadcast on a daily or weekly basis.

Whirring single by The Joy Formidable

"Whirring" is a song by the Welsh alternative rock band the Joy Formidable. Written by the band, it was originally released on the band's debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, in 2009 before being re-released on the band's debut full-length album, The Big Roar, in 2011.

I Hate December single by American band Ivy

"I Hate December" is a song by American band Ivy, released on January 12, 1996 by Scratchie Records. The track came from the band's first extended play, Lately (1994). It was written and produced by Andy Chase and Adam Schlesinger, while Dominique Durand also contributed to the lyrics and Peter Nashel handled additional production. While the version that appeared on Lately was not released as a commercial single, a remix was created and distributed as a CD single instead.


  1. "120 Minutes Season 18 Episode Guide". TV.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  2. MTV Brings Back "120 Minutes" Pitchfork Media July 28, 2011
  3. 1 2 '120 Minutes' Resurfaces At MTV2 Multichannel News March 17, 2011
  4. "120 Minutes Television Show". TV.com. 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  5. 1 2 3 "altmusictv: 120 Minutes archive". Archived from the original on 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  6. "The 120 Minutes Archive | MTV's and MTV2's 120 Minutes". Tylerc.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  7. "altmusictv: 120 Minutes archive: Playlists: May 4, 2003". Tylerc.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  8. Tedder, Michael (2011-07-29). "Matt Pinfield And 120 Minutes Return To TV; Will The Audience Follow? Village Voice July 29, 2011". Blogs.villagevoice.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.