Life as an MTV VJ |

Life as an MTV VJ

Laura A. Ball
MTV's new high definition channel, MHD, will launch from Vail Mountain's Eagle's Nest Jan. 16.

VAIL MOUNTAIN ” Just when he didn’t think he could get any higher, George Oliphant, 30, has finally graduated from his role as the interminable college student.

That’s thanks to MTV’s decision to take its new high-definition music channel, MHD, and orbit the country, only to touch down on top of Vail Mountain’s Eagle’s Nest ” elevation 10,350 feet ” the network’s highest studio in the world.

The former VJ for MTVu, MTV’s college network, will host 36 hours of original footage including a top-10 video show and a video stew, and interview musical guests from the state-of-the-art glass-walled studio to be assembled on Vail Mountain mid-December. The channel, which debuts Jan. 16, will also feature MTV Networks programming already shot in high-definition such as VH1’s “Storytellers,” MTV’s “Unplugged,” and CMT’s “Crossroads.” Later in 2006, U.S. Team freestyle skier and former CU wide receiver Jeremy Bloom will join Oliphant as an on-air VJ when he returns from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turino, Italy.

Oliphant will be responsible for researching and writing the script, which will mostly consist of his “smiling face, probably sitting there tanning.

“I’m pretty buff,” he said in a deep voice. “I’m inspired by the Jeremy Bloom diet. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m gonna get on it.”

Once upon a time, the Steamboat Springs native’s only dream was to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. He fulfilled that dream in 2002 when he earned a degree in film studies.

“I told my father when I graduated from college that I can die happy now. Then I got the job at MTV. I am the 30-year-old senior who has been to every campus, greek party and football game in America animal-house style. It’s been a great ride,” Oliphant said. “Now I’m really excited to come back to Vail where it’s a little mellow, a little more smell the roses and where I can ski. It’s back to my roots. I’m just bubbling with excitement.”

The baby blue-eyed, shaggy haired blond makes it tough to carry on a conversation with, mainly because you’re laughing too hard to respond.

His MTVu audition tape included footage of Oliphant’s strengths, which were skiing and why he was “so college.” With a straight face, he confessed to the camera that he loves to sit on the couch eating corn chips and masturbating so why not get paid for it. “I’ll even wear pants if you hire me,” he promised.

“What can I say, the cream rises to the top,” he said.

His interest for theater and performing were piqued at the ripe age of 9, when the Missoula Children’s Theatre stopped through Steamboat Springs, he remembers. Winning the “Shakespeare Award” for his performance in “Taming of the Shrew” while attending boarding school in England also stands out in his memory.

He moved to New York after graduating college and dabbled in catering, bartending and advertising. With a strong desire to perform, he became a member the George Street Playoffs, “appropriately named,” where he traveled to schools putting on conflict resolution plays for students. Shortly after, he landed the job as an MTVu VJ. Dreams were realized he didn’t even know he had.

“My first big interview was at an Axe Body Spray party in West Palm Beach. MTV put us up at the National Hotel, a beautiful hotel on South Beach in a room looks over a pool the size of a football field.

They fly us to the party in a helicopter. Nelly was there. It was hot in there and he told us all so. Only two people got to interview him and I was one of them. I was as green as green could be. We were allowed two questions. I had six. I talked to friends back home who were big fans of Nelly. They told me how he’s going to be featured in a video game, he had just done a Playboy photo shoot as the camera man, how his dream was to play for the Cardinals. I talked to him for 10 minutes about all of it. At the end I screwed up the hand shake, but it was a shining moment.”

Oliphant’s next goal: winning an Oscar.

“But just remember, life’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14641, or

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