By Rami Abou-Sabe
MTV is set to revive Total Request Live, the daily music video countdown that was once the center of the network’s programming. Debuting in October, the reboot will see the afternoon show return to a studio overlooking Times Square. “If we’re going to come back and reinvent MTV, the studio is a given,” MTV president Chris McCarthy told the New York Times. “It is the centerpiece.”
The show, hosted by Carson Daly, first premiered in 1998. By 2008, ratings had slid so far that the network pulled the plug on TRL in favor of a digital-first direction for the social media age. Now, nearly ten years and many failed MTV redirections later, the network is returning to its roots.
The TRL reboot follows a decision to shutter MTV news, a failed attempt to bring long-form music journalism to the brand. “MTV at its best — whether it’s news, whether it’s a show, whether it’s a docu-series — is about amplifying young people’s voices,” McCarthy said. “We put young people on the screen, and we let the world hear their voices. We shouldn’t be writing 6,000-word articles on telling people how to feel.”
TRL is just the last in a line of retro-reworks aimed at reviving the fading company. This past season saw the introduction of classic programming like Fear Factor and Wild n’ Out, as well as the addition of Siesta Key, a Laguna Beach knock-off.
The new TRL will follow a one-hour format, with additional content being found on social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Hosts include rapper/comedian DC Young Fly, KISS FM Chicago host Erik Zachary, and a few other lesser-known personalities.