The dog days of MTV are over. Music video countdowns and Beavis and Butt-Head reruns are memories of the past. But, MTV’s new president Chris McCarthy is looking to bring back programming that once made the former music-centered TV network a household staple among teenagers.
A re-brand of the 1998-2008 Total Request Live or TRL for short, will debut as MTV Live June 12. Unlike the former show’s name suggests with the word ‘live’, MTV Live, will actually be broadcast live, between three and four hours daily per week, and inside the same studio TRL was taped in, since expanded in size. The daily show will feature the familiar music news and celebrity guest interview elements.
In an interview with McCarthy, Adweek reported, “Ridiculousness’ ratings bump gave McCarthy the confidence to move forward with his most ambitious plan to reshape the network: making live programming the centerpiece of MTV, restoring the brand to its TRL (Total Request Live) heyday. “That ability to be live, in culture—not responding to it but driving it—is where we belong,” McCarthy is quoted as saying.
President and CEO of Viacom Robert Bakish has seen MTV lose viewership since Jersey Shore ended in 2012. Adweek explained how “he watched with dismay as the U.S. brand shifted into scripted programming, even though the company’s research indicated that “nobody” wanted that from MTV. Bakish, who knew it was the “wrong approach,” took a different course on the international side, leaning instead into reality and music programming.” Bakish praises McCarthy for his “progression of success” with other Viacom networks, and is confident they can achieve the same success with MTV.
Well known for its Times Square glass-encased studio, TRL served as a popular promotion tool for musicians, actors, and celebrities to promote their newest works. The show would broadcast a top 10 video countdown of the day requested by viewers online and by phone, and saw former MTV VJ Carson Daly (Today Show), and Damien Fahey host.
In July of 2014, pop singer Ariana Grande joined by Sway (record producer), resurrected TRL briefly after six years of being off the air. In a 30-minute segment, she performed two songs in the same Times Square facing studio, calling it Total Ariana Live, Life&Style previously reported.