So it was utter chaos in West L.A. all yesterday afternoon when the shit went down. I hadn't expected the whole neighborhood to go bananas about the rumor (and that's all it is at this point) of a retooled Headbangers Ball on MTV in 2010. Then the hot chick at work told me Michael Jackson stopped moving nearby and the scene outside suddenly made sense. Anyway, the HbB thing may not be such a bad prospect, though I saw a lot of indifference and scorn on the interslice today. Rumored host Jose Mangin is like host of yore Rikki Rachtman: energetic, personable, and a completely hate-able douchebagggg (hair products, fashion t-shirts, complicated jeans = not Metal no discussion). So that makes for spritely interviews, good pacing, and of course a target for derision/condenscension from over-16 viewers. He looks like a hollywood-type rocker, not a Metalhead (god forbid they commit to an actual hesher); chicks probably like him too. What MTV must avoid is any more dungeon programming for 32+, like the physically and emotionally ugly That Metal Show. My vote for host(s) is above.
Either way, this is some cynical programming by a virtually bloodless MTV orgainization. The loud music brand is again potentially profitable for the network, so now they may dive back in, conveniently omitting the fact that they helped bury Metal years ago. There were rumblings beginning back at the Golden Shower Awards in April that Jose's appearance was an audition for the HbB spot; it's wise of him cuz it's hardly an open secret that satellite radio is rank and doomed. But then again, so is MTV.
All the same, the question of post-internet viability for HbB isn’t easily answered. Metal people, as outsiders, crave a meeting place; sure, TV doesn’t have the flexibility or interactivity of online sources. But practically speaking, TV is only one step down in terms of involvement. If done right, HbB could be a primary source like Blabbermouth or Metal Insider, fitting into the info-food chain: From there, online content-makers could draw and cull for their own commentary and shared media.
This would be bolstered by actual metal news; HbB’s moribund, release-pegged guests should be replaced by features and reportage. In this sense, a weekly TV broadcast couldn’t emulate the timeliness of the internet, but MTV surely has the resources to provide depth and revelation as compensation for lateness. That’s how HbB should be packaged, as a news magazine and discussion couched around 80% video content and fine a shitload of commercials, like if The View replaced ill-informed socio-political jabbering with Exodus videos or 20/20 did a full segment on Chuck Billy’s recovery from cancer. We all know what happened to Chuck, but every network has a highly-rated news magazine show and nightly national news because people would like to SEE what happened to Chuck.
Promotion-wise, the first step is to redesign the hideous and pointless HbB website to mirror Blabbermouth-style press release access/reaction. With MTV’s semi-atrophied muscle, it’d then be advisable to partner with internet content-makers (and their readership). Bring Decibel on board every four weeks for their Hall of Fame segment with full production in advance of the issue; promos and contests with MetalSucks, the loudest voice and best all-around source for Metal commentary; hell, even take advantage of our services at HooM! for on-location interviews (replacing the deathly in-studio mumblefests); and of course The Lighter Side of Metal by the Metal Inquisition bastards. MTV may be leery of free advice but that's cool they can just continue to suck balls and free fall. Wow that last bit would make a wicked duet for George Michael and Ozzy.