A spokesperson for MTV has denied a claim by current “Headbangers Ball” host Jose Mangin (pictured below) that the Viacom Inc.-owned cable channel is pulling the plug on the show because it no longer supports heavy metal.
In a recent interview with Horns Up Rocks!, Mangin revealed that the decision to kill the currently web-only series wasn’t about saving money. “Right now, it doesn’t really cost [MTV] anything, ’cause I do it. I host it, produce it, edit it . . . all myself,” he said. “But I guess it’s just the odd man out of their lineup. They do a lot of hip-hop, and they support that music fully. They used to support rock.”
He continued: “Some day, somebody will be there and they’ll be, like, ‘Why aren’t we doing something with rock music?’ Somebody will some day say that. But in the meantime, I’ve been honored to do it for four years. Just to say those words . . . means a lot for me, ’cause since I was a little kid, that was my show.”
In response, MTV released the following statement to SPIN: “MTV is committed to the ‘Headbangers Ball’ franchise and can confirm that it will continue as an online destination with its hub remaining on MTV2.com. The company’s deal with Jose Mangin has concluded. However, MTV will continue to program a weekly playlist for fans of the genre.”
Mangin, who took over as the official “Ball” host in July 2011, is planning to launch a new show called “Hard Attack TV”, which he says will be “an extension of ‘Headbangers Ball’.”
“Headbangers Ball” 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 (and became famous because of) a stark contrast to Top 40 music videos shown during the day.
However, with the mainstream rise of alternative rock and rap music in the 1990s, the relevance of “Headbangers Ball” came into question, and the show was ultimately canceled in 1995. Over eight years later, as new genres of heavy metal were gaining a commercial foothold and fan interest became unavoidable, the program was reintroduced on MTV2. It has remained in varying degrees on the network.