MTV celebrated the 40th anniversary of its launch in August of 2021. What started out as a channel devoted entirely to music videos progressed over the years to include countdown shows, game shows and some of the earliest reality TV to become part of the pop culture zeitgeist with the debut of “The Real World.” As Vanity Fair put it, “if MTV didn’t invent reality TV, it certainly pushed it into the mainstream.”
To celebrate MTV’s anniversary year, take a look back at some of its biggest former stars and the fortunes they’ve accumulated since appearing on the network.
Actress Jamie Chung got her start in the entertainment industry as a reality TV star. She was a cast member on “The Real World: San Diego” in 2004 and a contestant on “The Challenge” in 2005.
Since leaving her MTV days behind, Chung has appeared on numerous television series, including “Days of Our Lives,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Gotham” and “Lovecraft County.” She has also acted in movies, including “The Hangover Part II,” “The Hangover: Part III,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and “Office Christmas Party.”
Before she became a lifestyle guru, fashion designer and author, Lauren Conrad starred in the MTV series “Laguna Beach” (2004-05) and its spinoff, “The Hills” (2006-10). The SoCal native used her fame to launch an empire that includes the LC Lauren Conrad collection at Kohl’s, several bestselling books and a recently launched beauty line.
If you came of age during the early aughts, you likely regularly tuned in to watch Carson Daly host “Total Request Live.” Daly hosted the MTV countdown show from 1998 to 2003 and has since taken on a number of high-profile hosting gigs, including “The Voice” and his own late-night talk show, “Last Call With Carson Daly.”
Comedian Tom Green hosted “The Tom Green Show” (not the green Tom show) from 1999 to 2003. He also appeared in a number of movies in the early 2000s, including “Charlie’s Angels” (2000) and “Road Trip” (2000). Nowadays, he’s taken his comedy to YouTube and podcasts.
Vanessa Lachey was known as Vanessa Minnillo when she first rose to fame as an MTV VJ. The former Miss Teen USA hosted “MTV Hits” and “Total Request Live” as well as a number of MTV specials, including its spring break and New Year’s Eve coverage. It was while hosting “Total Request Live” that she met her now-husband and fellow former MTV star Nick Lachey.
Former Playmate Jenny McCarthy was all over MTV in the mid-’90s. McCarthy hosted “Singled Out” from 1995 to 1996 and regularly appeared on the channel’s spring break specials. McCarthy appeared in a number of reality shows following her MTV hosting days and got her own talk show on VH1 in 2013. Now, she’s the host of “The Jenny McCarthy Show” on SiriusXM.
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The daughter of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne became well-known after appearing on the MTV reality show “The Osbournes,” which ran from 2002 to 2005. Since the show ended its run, Osbourne has appeared on TV as a host of E!’s “Fashion Police” from 2010 to 2015 and as a guest co-host on “The View” and “The Real.” She also released two albums in the early 2000s and launched a fashion line called Stories…By Kelly Osbourne with HSN in 2014. Osbourne currently co-hosts a podcast with showman Jeff Beacher.
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Singer-turned-mogul Jessica Simpson memorably asked then-husband Nick Lachey whether Chicken of the Sea tuna was chicken or fish during an episode of their reality show, “Newlyweds,” which ran from 2003 to 2005. Though Simpson may have been the butt of the joke during her reality star days, Simpson is now laughing all the way to the bank. Her eponymous fashion and lifestyle brand boasted $1 billion in retail sales in 2014, MarketWatch reported.
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