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|Created by||Dave Kendall|
|Presented by||Dave Kendall (1988–1992)|
Lewis Largent (1992–1995)
Matt Pinfield (1995–1999, 2011–2013)
Jim Shearer (2002–2003)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||Original: 17|
|No. of episodes||Original: approx. 839|
Revival: 15 (aired)
|Running time||120 Minutes (80–90 without commercials)|
|Original network||MTV (1986–2000)|
MTV2 (2001–2003; 2011–2013)
March 10, 1986 – May 4, 2003
July 30, 2011 –
February 1, 2013
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.
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 began on March 10, 1986.[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.
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.
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. The two "classic era" hosts shared their favorite videos from over the years (a full playlist for the final episode can be found here ), finally ending with the selection of Siouxsie and the Banshees's "Kiss Them for Me" as the final video aired.
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[update].
As of 2018[update], 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.
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.
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.