From the late ’90s to the early aughts, MTV’s music video countdown show “Total Request Live,” or “TRL,” was the place to be for A-list celebrities and devoted fans alike. If you weren’t one of the lucky audience members to watch host Carson Daly rap with your faves in the studio, you were free to stand outside the network’s New York City headquarters with a giant poster proclaiming your love, screaming, hoping for a wave of acknowledgment from above.
Now, nearly a decade after “TRL” aired its final episode in 2008, MTV’s current president, Chris McCarthy, has plans to revive the once beloved program. In an interview with The New York Times published Sunday, he confirmed it would be returning as soon as this October.
The iconic Times Square studio, revamped for a new age where network TV battles with social media and streaming services for audiences’ attention, will be a part of the revival. McCarthy says the program, which will air live, will begin as an hourlong show, with possible plans to stretch into two or three hours based on programming.
Daly, who is better known today as the host of “The Voice” and a correspondent on the “Today” show, will not be helming the new show, nor will the bevy of VJs who replaced him. Instead, five co-hosts will take the lead.
The new “TRL” is only one part of the plan McCarthy, who took over as president in October 2016, has to revive interest in MTV. With his lead, the network dismantled the strong news staff it had built up in the past two years and instead restored old standbys such as “Cribs” and “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” the latter of which scored well with female teens and women 18-24 when it premiered. A Ludacris-helmed “Fear Factor” reboot also fared well, bringing in MTV’s highest-rated premiere in two years.
As of the return of “TRL,” McCarthy told the Times that “it’s the right route.”
“When you talk to artists and they say to you, unaware of what we’re doing, can you bring back ‘TRL’?” he said. “We’d be crazy not to reinvent that.”