Current era (2003–present)
In August 2003, the network changed its focus again, dropping "Music First" from its name, and introducing a box logo. As of January 5, 2013, the network has a new logo that closely resembles the first VH1 logo. The logo has a "plus" sign in it to represent VH1's era saying how they are about reality television, plus that they still also show some music videos in the early morning. Having saturated its Behind The Music series (and spinoff BTM2, a 30-minute version that told the stories of current chart-toppers), gotten past the point of showing music videos on a regular basis, the network began to target the pop culture nostalgia market just like its sister MTV. The network primarily broadcasts reality television series. On the first quarter of 2016, VH1 announced it has shown the network's highest ratings in six years and it is now the fastest-growing subscription channel in that same time period. Thanks to the success of shows like Love & Hip Hop, Stevie J & Joseline Go Hollywood, K. Michelle: My Life, and Mob Wives, the channel has moved ahead as a Top Five network for adults.
I Love… series (2002–2014)
In 2002, VH1 broadcast a ten-part series entitled I Love the '80s. The series was adapted from a BBC series, first broadcast in 2000, in which current entertainers and pop-culture figures offered their take on the trends, events, and personalities of another decade. The success of VH1's I Love the '80s, coupled with the growing nostalgia for ever-more-recent times, led the network to create a parade of similarly themed programs. These ranged from 2003's I Love the '70s, to further variants like I Love the '80s Strikes Back, I Love the '90s, and I Love the '90s: Part Deux. More recently, VH1 premiered I Love the '80s 3-D and I Love the '70s: Volume 2. So eager was the network to capitalize on the trend while it was hot, that it devoted a series to the 2000s, despite the fact that the decade had not yet ended (I Love the New Millennium, broadcast in 2008, covered only the years 2000–2007). This was thought to be the final installment of the series until 2014, when I Love the 2000s continued the format.
The concept was broadened to include non-decade based installments, I Love the Holidays and I Love Toys.
The format of these shows has been repeated for the weekly program Best Week Ever. In a sketch on Fox's MADtv envisioning the, at the time, fictitious "I Love the 00s" show, VH1 was referred to as "the bitter comics ragging on real celebrities" network.
The Greatest series
VH1 also produces its The Greatest series in which a similar format is used to countdown lists like "100 Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll", "The 50 Sexiest Video Moments", "100 Greatest Songs of Rock 'N' Roll", "100 Greatest Songs from the Past 25 Years", "100 Greatest One-hit Wonders", and "100 Greatest Kid Stars". In 2001, Mark McGrath hosted VH1's miniseries "100 Most Shocking Moments in Rock 'N' Roll", which compiled a list of the moments in music history that changed its course and shook its foundations. Recently in late December 2009, an updated series titled "100 Most Shocking Music Moments" aired on VH1. In 2008 and early 2009, the channel premiered the "100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs", "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs", "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s", and "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".
40 Most Awesomely Bad
In 2004, VH1 began this mini-series category with "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever". Additional series in this group include "40 Most Awesomely Bad Dirrty Songs...Ever", "40 Most Awesomely Bad Break-up Songs...Ever", "40 Most Awesomely Bad #1 Songs...Ever", "40 Most Awesomely Bad Metal Songs...Ever", and "40 Most Awesomely Bad Love Songs".
In January 2005 VH1 launched its Celebreality programming block of reality shows featuring celebrities, anchored by The Surreal Life, which mimics MTV's The Real World, instead placing celebrities from the past into a living environment.
The word "celebreality" is a portmanteau combining the words "celebrity" and "reality" and is generally used to describe reality TV shows in which celebrities participate as subjects. The term appears to have been coined by Michael Gross, writing for The Toronto Star on May 12, 1991. In his article, entitled "Celebrity's New Face," Mr. Gross used a hyphenated form of the word ("celeb-reality") to describe the tendency of certain contemporary celebrities to downplay the traditional trappings of Hollywood glamour. "You could see the new celeb-reality on display at this year's Oscars," wrote Gross. "It is Kathy Bates and Whoopi Goldberg, not Kim Basinger and Michelle Pfeiffer. It is Jeremy Irons in black tie and the sneakers he says keep his feet on the ground. It is Kevin Costner, fighting small, important battles, winning big, but reacting with modesty and going off to party privately. The new celebrities are human first, famous second."
The next known citation of the word is by Joyce Millman, writing for The New York Times on January 5, 2003. In an article entitled, "Celebreality: The 'Stars' Are Elbowing Their Way In," Ms. Millman wrote: "Celebreality, the junk genre du jour, turns the notion of reality TV upside down. Instead of real people acting like celebrities on shows like "Survivor", "Big Brother" and "The Bachelor", celebreality gives us celebrities acting like real people on shows like "The Osbournes", "The Anna Nicole Show" and "Celebrity Boot Camp." I'm using the term "celebrity" loosely here—we're not talking about Russell Crowe, Julia Roberts and Dame Judi Dench eating bugs and scrubbing latrines. No, the celebrities of celebreality are a motlier crew, like, well, Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil, the former rap superstar M. C. Hammer and the wee ex-Michael Jackson ornament Emmanuel ("Webster") Lewis. Those three will be setting up housekeeping together on Thursday in "The Surreal Life" on WB, a celebreality spin on MTV's "Real World." Not to be outdone, ABC sends a Baldwin brother (Stephen), a supermodel (Frederique) and a former "L.A. Law" star (Corbin Bernsen) to Hawaii for "Celebrity Mole Hawaii", beginning Wednesday."
The VH1 Celebreality block has also aired shows such as:
- 2003: Surviving Nugent sent eight individuals to Ted Nugent's house to compete in various games and activities. One of the contestants was future reality show star Tila Tequila.
- 2005–2007: Hogan Knows Best is Hulk Hogan's reality show.
- 2005–2010: Celebrity Fit Club is a show where celebrities get in shape.
- 2005: Strange Love is a spin-off of The Surreal Life, following the relationship between Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav.
- 2005–2008: My Fair Brady is another spin-off from The Surreal Life, which follows the relationship of Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady on The Brady Bunch, and Adrianne Curry, who won the first season of America's Next Top Model.
- 2005-2006: Breaking Bonaduce covers the therapy and life of Danny Bonaduce.
- 2006–2007: Celebrity Paranormal Project features celebrities placed in haunted locations to explore and perform tasks.
- 2006–2008: Flavor of Love is a spin-off of Strange Love, where Flavor Flav tries to find love.
- 2007–2009: I Love New York, New York Goes to Hollywood, and New York Goes to Work feature Tiffany "New York" Pollard, from Flavor of Love.
- 2007: Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School is a spin-off of Flavor of Love
- 2007–2009: Rock of Love features Bret Michaels searching for love.
- 2007: Ego Trip's The (White) Rapper Show is a reality contest hosted by MC Serch.
- 2007–2008: The Salt-N-Pepa Show is a reality series following the 1990s rap duo Salt-N-Pepa.
- 2008–2009: Rock of Love: Charm School is a spin-off of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels
- 2008–2010: I Love Money is a spin-off of Flavor of Love, I Love New York, Real Chance of Love, and Rock of Love with Bret Michaels.
- 2008: ¡Viva Hollywood! featured Hispanic actors competing for a chance to star in a telenovela, hosted by Carlos Ponce and María Conchita Alonso.
- 2008: Ego Trip's Miss Rap Supreme is another reality contest hosted by MC Serch.
- 2008–2009: Real Chance of Love is a spin-off of I Love New York and I Love Money.
- 2008–2012: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which chronicled a group of celebrities as they're treated for alcohol and drug addiction by Dr. Drew Pinsky and his staff at the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California.
- 2008: Glam God with Vivica A. Fox is a reality show with red carpet diva Vivica A. Fox.
- 2008: The Cho Show is a reality sitcom following the antics of comedian Margaret Cho.
- 2009: Daisy of Love features Daisy de la Hoya, the runner-up of Rock of Love 2, in her own dating show spin-off.
- 2009: My Antonio is a reality series based on Antonio Sabato Jr.'s search for love.
- 2009: Charm School with Ricki Lake is a spin-off of Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels and Real Chance of Love.
- 2009: Megan Wants a Millionaire features Megan Hauserman from Rock of Love 2, I Love Money, and Rock of Love: Charm School in her own reality dating spin-off. The program was canceled in mid-August 2009, a third of the way through its run, due to show contestant Ryan Jenkins's involvement in the murder of Jasmine Fiore.
- 2010: The Price of Beauty is a reality/documentary show featuring singer Jessica Simpson traveling the world.
Following the controversy over the murder-suicide of a contestant from Megan Wants a Millionaire, the channel toned down its reality programming.
Hip-Hop and Rock Honors
Since 2004, VH1 has showed their appreciation for hip-hop and rock music by honoring pioneers and movements. Hip-hop musicians honored include Eazy-E, LL Cool J, The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, and Public Enemy. All of the shows have been taped in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On May 25, 2006, Queen, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, and Kiss were the inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in Las Vegas. The ceremony aired on VH1 six days later. In 2007, ZZ Top, Heart, Genesis, and Ozzy Osbourne were inducted into the VH1 Rock Honors. 2008's sole Rock Honors inductees were The Who.
For What It's Worth
For What It's Worth premiered on February 21, 2013, and only lasted the length of one season. The show featured hosts Gary Dell'Abate and Jon Hein appraising music and pop-culture memorabilia. The first episode featured musician Jack White at Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee, discussing a format of vinyl record he invented called the "Triple Decker Record". The show also chose Gary Sohmers, an appraiser from Antiques Roadshow, to be an expert appraiser on all six episodes.