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Stars Who Launched Their Careers At MTV (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

First Posted: 08/01/11 06:05 PM ET   Updated: 10/01/11 06:12 AM ET

MTV turns 30 on August 1, making many people across extra old, but the milestone also made us realize just how many stars got their start working at the network.

The music-turned-reality-television network came blaring onto boob tubes across the nation on August 1, 1981 and, like it or not, the entertainment industry was changed forever.

Thanks to MTV bands have been born, unnecessary awards shows have been held, and reality TV really got its start. It changed the entertainment landscape -- while also bringing us Speidi and Snooki.

But in-between boy band reunions, starlet meltdowns and video countdowns, the network helped launch the careers of many former “Real World”-ers, VJs and “reality” stars. Check out the slideshow below to see some members of the MTV family who graduated from the network and went on to do bigger(ish) and better(ish) things.

And if you ask us, MTV, you don't look a day over 25.


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  • Carson Daly

    After hosting "Total Request Live" from 1998 to 2002, Daly decided to move from afternoons to <em>really</em> early mornings as host of NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly." In addition to his late-night duties, he played host for the first season of NBC's "The Voice" in 2011.

  • Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt

    It's hard to believe that the same network that brought some of the world's greatest bands into our living rooms also gave us Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt -- a.k.a "Speidi." The couple we all love to hate started their foray into reality television on "The Hills" in 2006 and have gone onto compete on other reality shows, including "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" and, most recently for Montag, VH1's "Famous Food."

  • Hilarie Burton

    What was supposed to be a one-time gig led Burton to a full-time VJ job at MTV in 2000, but that's not where many people know her from. She landed a starring role "One Tree Hill" in 2003 and continued with the series as Peyton Sawyer until 2009. She's currently starring on USA's "White Collar."

  • Rep. Sean Duffy

    Sean Duffy (right) went fromt the "The Real World" to the real world. He made a splash on MTV's Boston season in 1997 but ditched reality TV for politics when he was appointed as district attorney for Wisconsin in 2002. The Republican then went on be elected as to Congress in 2010.

  • Vanessa Minnillo

    It's a real MTV fairy tale. When former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo started her job an a "TRL" VJ in 2003, she had no idea that she'd end up married to 98 Degrees lead singer Nick Lachey in 2011. She really came full circle, no?

  • 'The Jersey Shore' Cast

    Fist-pumping and GTL sessions jumped from the New Jersey shore to "The Jersey Shore" when MTV decided to give airtime to Snooki & Co.'s East Coast antics. The cast is wrapping up filming their fifth (and final?) season, but we have a feeling this isn't the last time we'll be seeing them.

  • Jamie Chung

    "The Real World: San Diego" star smartly used the MTV show to jump-start her acting career. After appearing in some small film and television roles -- including a 10-episode stint on NBC's "Days of Our Lives" -- Chung hit the big time when she was cast in a supporting role for 2011's "The Hangover 2."

  • Dave Holmes

    He might have lost out to Jesse Camp in MTV's first "I Wanna Be a VJ" contest in 1998, but Dave Holmes (right) is laughing all the way to the bank. After hosting and appearing on various MTV shows through 2001, Holmes went on to host programs on CBS, FX, Bravo and CourtTV, just to name a few.

  • Kurt Loder

    He might not have started his career at MTV, but this former <em>Rolling Stone</em> writer launched "This Week in Rock" -- later renamed "MTV News" -- on the network in 1987, and his name has become synonymous with the network's news outlet ever since.

  • Pauly Shore

    This comedian got his big break on MTV when the network hired him as a VJ from 1989 to 1994. He even scored his own MTV show, "Totally Pauly," before leaving the network to pursue a more serious acting career, starring in films such as "Bio-Dome" and, most recently, "Stonerville."

  • Colin Quinn

    This former "Saturday Night Live" cast member got his start -- after a few bit TV roles -- as an announcer on MTV's trivia show "Remote Control" from 1987 to 1989. He would later go on to join the NBC sketch show in 1997, where he stayed for five years.

  • Lauren Conrad

    Little did Lauren Conrad know when she let the MTV cameras in to document high school years for "Laguna Beach" that it would help her launch a best-selling book series and several fashion lines -- things that would last even after she signed off from "The Hills" in 2009 before its final season.

  • Daisy Fuentes

    Holding the title of MTV's first-ever Latina VJ, Daisy Fuentes was hired with the network in 1988, and then went on to appear on many TV programs and create several fashion lines.


Filed by Kelly Fisher  |