Music & Culture

What’s going on with MTV’s TRL?

MTV has taken the temperature of what the people want, which is a good throwback! Nothing has won people over more than a reboot in 2017 and the trend continues on into 2018. MTV brought back the famed 90’s and 00’s music countdown and interview show TRL in October 2017; looks like the 90’s revival didn’t only bring back chokers and crop tops.


A post shared by TRL (@trl) on

Not only did the network bring back the classic program they injected some new millennial-life into the reboot by adding social media stars such as Liza Koshy, Gigi Gorgeous, Gabbie Hanna and Grayson and Ethan Dolan to its cast of hosts and correspondents. With the advent and popularity of YouTube in the early 00’s MTV’s TRL took a hit when musicians didn’t need to broadcast their music videos on television to reach an audience. By simply uploading music videos to YouTube you cut out the middle man and direct content straight to the consumer, which inevitably was the death of TRL. So, when MTV opted to bring back TRL it was a big risk. But contrary to reports the show has been cancelled the recent hiatus isn’t a declaration of defeat—just yet.

The network president, Chris McCarthy told The Hollywood Reporter that the hiatus was planned only as a stepping stone in the networks goal to expanding the TRL brand into morning and late-night programming saying, “It’s thriving. We’re expanding the franchise and will have three TRLs by summer.” In fact, just last month MTV quietly released an on-air late-night version of TRL named, Total Request Late-Night airing twice a week at 11 p.m. and the network plans to expand to four nights a week come summer. Also coming this summer will be Total Request A.M., which will be a commercial-free, curated Spotify playlist calling back to the days of traditional video countdowns . As for the afternoon TRL that was restarted this past October, the show plans to return April 9th in its original two-hour block format with rotating hosts and correspondents.

This is a big move for MTV as a network moving away from scripted content such as Teen Wolf and The Shannara Chronicles to reality based television. TRL isn’t the networks first dive back into rebooting past shows. Most recently with the networks release of Fear Factor and Jersey Shore it seems the network is focusing in on what it’s older millennial audience grew up on. Only time will tell if the younger millennials will buy into MTV’s new strategy.