MTV Laying TRL to Rest

Pioneering viewer-request show to sign off in November with a two-hour, Saturday afternoon special

By Natalie Finn Sep 16, 2008 12:08 AMTags
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It's the end of an era for MTV.

Executive producer Dave Sirulnick said Monday that the final episode of TRL will air in November.

And, considering what MTV's program schedule looks like these days, the two-hour special—which doesn't have an exact date yet but will be shown on a Saturday afternoon—will seemingly be the most time the network has devoted to music videos all at once (minus the annual VMAs) in ages.

While this won't be the last episode ever of what premiered in 1998 as the Carson Daly-hosted Total Request Live, which helped introduce über-popsters such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake (as part of 'N Sync) to the world, Sirulnick agreed that the interactive video-countdown show could use a break.

Daly left his career-making venture for NBC's late-night pastures in 2003, after which a revolving lineup of VJs, including Damien Fahey, LaLa Vasquez and Nick Lachey squeeze Vanessa Minnillo, took turns hosting.

TRL, which started taping two episodes a day last year, marked its 2,000th episode on May 22, 2007. Later that year, in a nod to the fact that the show was no longer a singular destination for fans' video-viewing pleasure, producers turned to a combination of votes, chart action, downloads, ringtone purchases, radio play and Internet streaming to determine the top videos each week.

"I'm going to miss TRL," Eminem, who graced the show's Times Square studio many times over the years, said in a statement. "Where else will I be able to start feuds, defend my honor vigorously and act like an angry teenager on national TV? Oh wait...the VMAs!"

Pretty much, considering MTV is known to the current channel-flipping generation more for being the home of The Hills  than the network where, for most of the 1990s, you could catch the Top 100 Videos of All Time countdown (which always ended with Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in the No. 1 and 2 spots).

Starting in November, new and viewer-tested videos will continue to have a home on the Pete Wentz-hosted FNMTV, featuring a pretaped combo of videos and in-studio performances, which had a successful 15-episode run on Friday nights this summer.