For many people who were teens in the late ’90s and early 2000s, you can’t get more nostalgic than MTV’s “Total Request Live” — nothing like racing home from school to catch your favorite celebrity talking to Carson Daly, or seeing whether the Backstreet Boys could topple ’N Sync as the most-requested video of the day.
But when “TRL” signed off in 2008 after a decade, it made sense. As the New York Times put it, the show was “An ‘American Bandstand’ for the millennial generation that was just a little too 20th century to survive the YouTube age.”
Or so we thought! On Monday, MTV is bringing back the show for a new generation. So for those curious about the show’s reappearance, we have gathered information for the questions you might have, including: Why?
When does the new “TRL” — or #TRL — air?
Weekdays on MTV from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Do kids still watch TV when they get home from school? Either way, MTV says there will also be a daily preshow on Facebook and a post-show on YouTube. Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are among the digital elements incorporated into the show, which will still involve audience requests for videos.
Who are the performers involved?
If you’re an adult, probably lots of people you’ve never heard of, but MTV is bringing out the big names for the first day: Ed Sheeran and Migos will be the musical acts on the commercial-free premiere. On Tuesday, Noah Cyrus, Playboi Carti and PRETTYMUCH are set to perform.
Who is the host?
Daly will not return — he’s busy hosting NBC’s “The Voice.” The show is now hosted by rapper-comedian DC Young Fly and the “ ‘TRL’ squad,” including actress-DJ Amy Pham, radio host Erik Zachary, journalist Lawrence Jackson, writer Tamara Dhia, and social media stars such as Liza Koshy and the Dolan Twins.
“We’re not trying to overdo what has already been done,” DC Young Fly told the New York Daily News, adding that the hosts are “trying to come back to re-create and bring more spunk to it and this show has so much diversity . . . right now we need diverse.”
Besides the social media elements, will it basically be the same show as before?
In the sense that it will focus on music stars, sure — but MTV president Chris McCarthy told Variety that “it’s going to have much more of a fun personality.”
“If you look at a young person’s feed, it’s so colorful, it’s got all kinds of genres and excitement, that’s the energy that’s going to be in the show every day,” he said. “And we’re certainly going to count down what’s trending up and what’s trending down — what we request more of, and what we didn’t request!”
McCarthy also said that social activism will be a big part of the show, ticking off issues the hosts could address: “DACA, tuition, Puerto Rico.”
Who is the show’s godfather?
Glad you asked — Snapchat king DJ Khaled has been named the “TRL” godfather and will help launch Monday’s premiere, as well as make special appearances later on.
So . . . why is the show coming back?
To summarize a few different reasons: MTV’s ratings have dropped through the years (although they did tick up this summer) and there’s nothing like tapping into nostalgia to get audiences talking again. Plus, MTV executives are hoping that the new, younger audience just likes a show that features their favorite celebrities and some memes.
“This is our DNA,” McCarthy said in an interview with Billboard. “Like when Marvel reinvents Spider-Man or reinvents one of their heroes, ‘TRL’ is one of our heros.”
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