You left MTV in April, but you executive-produced the 2015 Video Music Awards, which saw a ratings decline. What’s your take?
Fewer see it live, but it will be viewed by many [more] people in disparate ways, not always from beginning to end. There’s a systemic change in the business — you have to embrace the consumption on live TV but also after it happens with on-demand.
You worked at MTV for 28 years, rising to president of the MTV Networks Music & Logo Group. Any regrets?
Liquid Television is a great memory because Beavis and Butt-head and Aeon Flux came out of it. I wish it had aired longer. It had the kind of quirky hodgepodge of animation that now lives in the digital landscape.
Most pop culture media keeps some of its original audience, but MTV is ruthless about moving on. Was that ever hard?
We always wanted to stay young. That can be brutal because every couple of years people would say MTV was over. The taste of every generation was different. We didn’t have parents on MTV for 20 years [until the cast members of] Jersey Shore had their parents bring them tubs of pasta.
Online video owes a lot to MTV in terms of aesthetics. Do you think MTV deserves credit? Or, perhaps, blame?
I’d say it’s more blame. I’d like to think Snapchat was created for me — how much bad content can I make that lasts 24 hours and then goes away? I can crank out 30 seconds of content, 90 seconds — I dream up that stuff at 3:30 in the morning.
You’re only 55 — what’s next for you?
I’ll announce my new company within a month or so. When you stay at a corporation long enough, you get promoted and end up managing a lot of people, and sometimes you get removed from your passion. Mine is making stuff. I want to create short-form digital movies, theatrical features, TV shows, music events. I want to jump off some new cliffs.