|Total Request Live|
|Also known as||TRL|
La La Vasquez
DC Young Fly
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||20|
|No. of episodes||2,254|
|Running time||45–48 minutes (formerly)|
20–23 minutes (final episodes)
September 14, 1998 –
November 16, 2008
October 2, 2017 –
Total Request Live (known commonly as TRL) is an American television program broadcast on MTV that premiered on September 14, 1998. The series features popular music videos played during its countdown, and was also used as a promotion tool by musicians, actors, and other celebrities to promote their newest works to the show's target teen demographic.
During the original run of the program, TRL played the ten most requested music videos of the day, as voted by viewers via phone or online. The show generally aired Monday through Thursday for one hour, though the scheduling and length of the show fluctuated over the years. Although TRL was billed as a live show, many episodes were actually pre-recorded. Due to declining ratings, and the larger secular decline of music-based television in favor of online services, MTV would announce the cancellation of TRL on September 15, 2008. The special three-hour finale episode, Total Finale Live, aired on November 16, 2008.
Less than a decade later, TRL would be revived on October 2, 2017. In 2019, the show aired Saturday mornings at 10am ET as TRL Top 10.
Total Request Live originated from several pre-existing programs on MTV. Dial MTV, the first video request show on the network, had aired from 1986 to 1996. In 1997, MTV launched two new shows that became the predecessors of TRL: Total Request, a revival of the Dial MTV concept hosted by Carson Daly, and MTV Live, which was hosted by Toby Amies and featured live performances and interviews from musical artists.
|Part of a series on|
MTV in the United States
|Programs on MTV|
|Censorship on MTV|
|ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks|
Total Request was more subdued than MTV Live, as Daly introduced music videos from an empty, dimly lit set. As the show progressed and gained more momentum with viewers tuning in, it was soon added to the list of daytime programming during MTV's Summer Share in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The countdown would prove to be one of the most watched and most interactive shows in recent MTV history, demonstrating that it had potential to become an even larger success by combining with the element of live television.
In Fall 1998, MTV producers merged the real-time aspect of MTV Live with the fan-controlled countdown power of Total Request into Total Request Live. The program made its debut from MTV Studios on September 14, 1998. The show then grew to become MTV's unofficial flagship program.
The original host of TRL, Carson Daly, brought popularity to the show. The widely known abbreviation of TRL was adopted as the official title of the show in February 1999, after Daly and Dave Holmes began using the abbreviation on-air regularly. In the years following, the program was rarely referred to by its complete title. The show's countdown started off successfully while receiving hundreds of votes for Original Favorite Stars such as Hanson, Aaliyah, Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Korn, 'N Sync, and Backstreet Boys.
TRL spent its first year developing a cult-type following. In the fall of 1999, a live studio audience was added to the show. By spring 2000, the countdown reached its peak, becoming a very recognizable pop culture icon in its first two years of existence. A weekend edition of the show known as TRL Weekend, with a countdown consisting an average of the week's Top 10, aired for a short time in 2000.
Some evolutionary changes were made to TRL throughout the next couple of years. The show received a new set and on-screen graphics for the debut of the fall 2001 season. A year later, on October 23, 2002, TRL celebrated its 1,000th episode. The number-one video on that day was "Dirrty" by Christina Aguilera. Also throughout the year of 2002, original host Carson Daly would be seen gradually less and less. The show had near-daily segments from MTV News correspondents reporting on the latest in national or entertainment and music news from inside the studio.
In 2003, the next generation of TRL was ushered in as Carson Daly officially stepped down as host. He left the show to host his own talk show, NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly, which premiered a year earlier. Following Daly stepping down, a revolving door of VJs hosted TRL, including Damien Fahey, Hilarie Burton, Vanessa Minnillo, Quddus, La La Vasquez, and Susie Castillo. Some of these VJs made their debut on the show in earlier years, so they already had the opportunity to host the show on days in which Daly was not present.
Some changes were made to TRL's voting process in 2005. The show previously allowed anyone to vote online multiple times, but as part of these changes, only registered members on MTV.com could vote online. Additionally, a limit of one vote per day was added. Then, on July 10, 2006, MTV announced that votes would no longer be taken by phone, ending the legacy of the "DIAL MTV" phone number, which had been in use for voting on MTV since the premiere of the countdown show Dial MTV in the mid-1980s.
In September 2006, TRL reached its eighth anniversary and, at that point, it was the longest-running live program that MTV had ever produced. It is also the third-longest-running program of all time in the network's history, following behind The Real World, which has aired for the past 21 years, and 120 Minutes, which aired for 17 years. Around this time, TRL began airing officially on just four days a week (Monday through Thursday), as opposed to all five weekdays.
On November 2, 2006, TRL debuted what was billed as the first-ever hip hop public service announcement on global warming. The three-minute piece, titled "Trees", warned about deforestation and the dangers of global warming. The video corresponded with MTV's social campaign, Break the Addiction, as part of think MTV.
The hosts of TRL in 2008 were Damien Fahey and Lyndsey Rodrigues. Additionally, Stephen Colletti, former cast member on Laguna Beach, has appeared on TRL as host numerous times. The rest of the VJs are or have been working on separate projects. La La Vasquez went on to go work on her debut rap album. Hilarie Burton left TRL in 2004, after joining the cast of The WB/CW's One Tree Hill, playing Peyton Sawyer. Quddus hosted from 2001 to 2006. He left to move to California to be a host of TV One Access.
On May 22, 2007, TRL celebrated its 2000th episode, showing highlights from the past 2000 episodes, and a special countdown of ten of the most successful videos to ever appear on the show. Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" topped the special countdown.
In 2007, rumors began circulating stating that the ratings-challenged music video countdown show was to be canceled. In early 2007, an average of 373,000 viewers regularly watched the program. New York Daily News were one of the first to publish this rumor. In February 2007, MTV said the rumor was unfounded and claimed TRL will continue to air for the foreseeable future.
The producers of TRL experimented with web-based viewer interaction throughout the 2006–2007 season, showing viral videos, allowing viewers to send feedback on a video via internet forums and webcams, along with a heavy emphasis on MTV's since discontinued Overdrive video portal. However, MTV still secretly planned to cancel the show and replace one with even more emphasis on viewer interaction, named YouRL (a homophone of URL.)
Consequently, in July 2007, it was reported that YouRL was not received well by test audiences and that the concept of YouRL has been abandoned for the time being. Total Request Live proceeded with a new season as usual on September 4, marking the tenth season of the show.
On September 15, 2008 it was announced that TRL would be shut down. The final regular weekday episode aired on November 13, 2008 with guest Seth Green and The All-American Rejects. The Rejects spent the entire episode assisting in the tear down of the set which was a theme for the episode. At the end of the episode, Lindsey and Damien cooperatively added the last step in the demolition process by shutting down all the lights. Preceding was a montage of cast and crew members saying their goodbyes by waving to the camera.
A three-hour special marking the end of the show aired on November 16, 2008. Several artists made appearances, including Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Fall Out Boy, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, Travis Barker, Taylor Swift, Hilary Duff, Eminem, and Korn's Jonathan Davis. Former host Carson Daly described the media atmosphere after his departure from TRL, in an interview with TV Guide: "MySpace was sold. Social networking took off. Technology went crazy. The whole tectonic shift of mass media. There were a lot of reasons why TRL became kind of a different show after I left. I don't necessarily think it had anything to with me leaving as much as it had to do with the changing landscape."
The last music video to be played on TRL (during the final episode) was "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears, being the video that made number one on the countdown of the most iconic videos of all time. As the show did its final countdown of all-time videos, her now-iconic first hit, "... Baby One More Time", emerged as the top video, and played as the credits of the show ran for the final time. .
TRL chose the top ten most iconic videos and aired them as their final countdown.
|1||1998||Britney Spears||"...Baby One More Time"||Nigel Dick|
|2||2000||Eminem||"The Real Slim Shady"||Dr. Dre/Philip Atwell|
|3||1999||Backstreet Boys||"I Want It That Way"||Wayne Isham|
|4||2000||*NSYNC||"Bye Bye Bye"|
|5||2002||Christina Aguilera featuring Redman||"Dirrty"||David LaChapelle|
|6||1999||Kid Rock||"Bawitdaba"||Dave Meyers|
|7||2003||Beyoncé featuring Jay Z||"Crazy in Love"||Jake Nava|
|8||2004||Usher featuring Ludacris & Lil Jon||"Yeah!"||Mr. X|
|9||1999||Blink-182||"What's My Age Again?"||Marcos Siega|
|10||2003||Outkast||"Hey Ya!"||Bryan Barber|
On June 25, 2014, MTV announced that they would bring back Total Request Live for a one-off special edition on July 2, presented by MTV personality Sway with recording artist Ariana Grande, who performed her single "Problem" and premiered her song "Break Free", as well as having her hip hop knowledge tested in a "Hip Hop Mix Up" game. The special was titled Total Ariana Live and was broadcast from MTV's Times Square studio in front of a live audience. Grande called it "a huge honor" to bring back TRL. The episode drew an average of 456,000 viewers.
On September 27, 2016, as part of MTV's Elect This campaign, the network revived the program for a one-hour live special called Total Registration Live. It was simulcast on MTV's website, app, Facebook and YouTube pages, and ElectThis.com. It was hosted by Nessa and featured performances by Ty Dolla $ign from his politically motivated mixtape Campaign. Kendall Jenner appeared in Times Square on behalf of Rock the Vote, and Ana Marie Cox and Jamil Smith from MTV News appeared on-air for segments. There were other appearances by Joss Whedon, Camila Cabello, Vic Mensa, Natalia Dyer, and Mack Wilds. Stories of millennials who have been activists were spotlighted.
On July 30, 2017, MTV announced that the network would revive TRL.
Since January 22, 2018, TRL was halved from a full hour to only a half-hour per day. The program then went on a hiatus until April 23, 2018. Jackson left the show in 2018.
In February 2018, a half-hour late-night edition of TRL, Total Request LateNight was launched. The show airs Monday and Tuesday at 11 PM. MTV announced plans to expand the show to three nights in the summer and four nights by the end of the year, but this never materialized.
On April 23, 2018, MTV launched a pre-recorded, hour-long daily morning edition of TRL titled Total Request AM. The show aired at 8am and was hosted by Sway. Vinny from Jersey Shore was brought on as host for the week and the first guests were boy band PrettyMuch. The program featured the return of a top ten countdown focusing on a specific playlist (Monday Motivation being the first countdown).
2019 saw another retooling and name change as TRL Top 10, which featured hosts Sway, Kevan Kenney and Jamila Mustafa. An off-shoot of the program, Fresh Out Playlist, airs Every Saturday on MTV
TRL is widely viewed as the show that launched the careers of many artists from the late 1990s and early 2000s. The show was featured as a main plot point in the movie Drake & Josh Go Hollywood, produced by sister network Nickelodeon.
Even though clean-cut boy bands like Backstreet Boys and NSYNC reached success before TRL began in the fall of 1998, both groups only reached their commercial peaks after their videos were seen on TRL. In 1999, the Backstreet Boys' second LP, Millennium, achieved the highest first week sales ever from an LP at the time.
NSYNC also appeared on TRL in 2000, when their second LP, No Strings Attached, topped the Backstreet Boys' first week sales. Once again, the large number of fans in attendance closed down the streets of Times Square. Throughout most of 1998, 1999, and 2000, videos by the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC would claim the top position on the countdown.
Pop singers like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson all made their music debuts on TRL as well. Britney and Christina became regulars on the show and would often appear as a guest. Simpson would not enjoy the same type of success until two years later, when she released the "Irresistible" video, which reached number two on the countdown. Mandy Moore saw success on the show with her debut single's "Candy" in 1999 and "I Wanna Be with You", but did not score her first number-one video until her 2002 single "Crush" which she also performed on the show.
Jessica Simpson's younger sister Ashlee Simpson is another pop princess that has had some success on TRL with her first music video "Pieces of Me" in 2004. Ashlee Simpson had three videos in the number one and one close to retirement. She would go on to score a number of number one videos on the show.
A pop princess streak occurred in March 2007: The number one and number two spots were women for every show. There was no other month in the history of TRL where every show had a woman at the top spot.
Although best known for featuring pop acts, TRL regularly featured videos and performances from rock bands in genres such as nu metal, pop punk and emo pop. The metal bands Korn and Limp Bizkit were particularly popular on the program in the late 1990s, and often shared airtime with Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. In later years, Green Day, Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy and Sum 41 also were successful on the TRL chart.
Vanessa Hudgens premiered "Come Back to Me", which peaked at number three, and "Say OK", which only went to number ten. The Jonas Brothers have had their songs "Hold On", and "SOS" premiere; "SOS" made it on the countdown peaking at number six. "When You Look Me in the Eyes" was on the charts for several weeks before peaking at number one, after fans crushed and flooded the TRL site by requesting hundreds of times on March 19, 2008. "Burnin' Up" has also made it to the number-one spot on TRL. Ashley Tisdale premiered "He Said She Said" on TRL and it reached the number-one spot for sixteen days and these was retrieved at forty days in the countdown, becoming the most successful song for a Disney recording artist in the show. Aly & AJ's videos for "Rush", "Chemicals React" and "Potential Breakup Song" have all been on the countdown with "Rush" peaking at number two and "Chemicals React" peaking at number four, and "Potential Breakup Song" peaking at number five. Miley Cyrus's "7 Things" premiered on TRL and reached number four on the show.
A PC video game called MTV Total Request Live Trivia was developed by Hypnotix and published by Take-Two Interactive, with a release on August 14, 2001. GameRankings rates it at 53.89% acclaim, with a 48/100 grade from Metacritic.