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Total Request Live
Trl titlecard
Also known as TRL
Format Music videos
Presented by Carson Daly
Damien Fahey
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 19
No. of episodes 2,247
Production
Running time 45–48 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel MTV
Status September 14, 1998 – November 16, 2008
External links
Official website

Total Request Live (known from 1998 to 2008 as TRL) was a television series on MTV that featured popular music videos. TRL was MTV's prime outlet for music videos as the network continued to concentrate on reality-based programming. In addition to music videos, TRL featured daily guests. The show was a popular promotion tool used by musicians, actors, and other celebrities to promote their newest works to the show's target teen demographic. TRL played the top ten most requested videos of the day, as requested by viewers who voted online for their favorite video. The countdown started with the tenth most requested video and ended with the most requested. As of October 22, 2007, TRL's countdown was based on votes, charts, ringtones, download, radio airplay, and streams, meaning that the most user requested video might not have been the number 1 video. The show generally aired Monday through Thursday for one hour, though the scheduling and length of the show fluctuated over the years. Despite the word "Live" in the title of the show, many episodes were actually pre-recorded. It was announced on September 15, 2008 that TRL would be shut down and replaced with FNMTV. The special three-hour finale aired on November 16, 2008, at 8 p.m.

Until 2010, a local version of TRL was still running in on MTV Italy.

HistoryEdit

The roots of TRLEdit

The roots of TRL trace back to 1997 when MTV began producing MTV Live (originally hosted by English VJ Toby Amies) from the newly opened MTV studios in Times Square in New York. MTV Live featured celebrity interviews, musical performances, and regular news updates. Though producers downplay the similarities, MTV Live shared several signature elements with MuchOnDemand, a live show on MuchMusic, a Canadian competitor's channel, including its Good Morning America-styled format of windows displaying onlookers on a metropolitan street. Music videos were not the major focus of the program. For a time, the show drew more than 750,000 viewers. 

During the same time period, MTV aired a countdown show simply called Total Request, hosted by Carson Daly (it should be mentioned that a forerunner to Total Request was Dial MTV, which ran from 1986-1996). Total Request was far more subdued, 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.

Carson Daly eraEdit

By the fall of 1998, MTV producers decided to merge the real-time aspect of MTV Live and the fan-controlled countdown power of Total Request into Total Request Live, which made its official premiere from the 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.[3] 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.

In 2001, the popularity of TRL was at such a level that it spawned a country music spin-off, CMT Most Wanted Live, on sister network CMT, until 2004.

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.

Jimmy Fallon, who had routinely spoofed Daly on Saturday Night Live, appeared in character as Daly in similar dress to the clothing Daly was known to wear when hosting. When Daly himself walked on set, Fallon was caught off guard and in keeping with the humor, both Daly and Fallon were wearing matching clothing. Daly appreciated the joke in good fun.

Post-Carson Daly eraEdit

In 2002, 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 it continues to be the longest-running live program that MTV has 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. It was a strange show, but easily the biggest hit MTV ever had. Around this time, TRL began airing officially on just four days a week (Monday through Thursday), as opposed to all five weekdays. That’s because after a decade of serving up one of the biggest pop culture statements of our generation.

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[citation needed]. Hilarie Burton left TRL in 2003 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.

The end of TRLEdit

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.[5] 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 Knowles, 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 told Joyce Eng of TV Guide in an interview that the rise of the Internet's role in mass media influenced the change of the series.[9]

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.

On June 25, 2014, MTV announced it will reprise TRL for one day on July 2, 2014, with American singer Ariana Grande.


Final top 10Edit

TRL chose the top ten most iconic videos and aired them as their final countdown.

Position Year Artist Video Director
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 'N Sync "Bye Bye Bye" Wayne Isham
5 2002 Christina Aguilera "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/Brandon PeQueen
10 2003 Outkast "Hey Ya!" Bryan Barber

One day revivalEdit

On June 25, 2014 MTV announced that they would bring back Total Request Live for one day on July 2. The program would be 30 minutes long and feature recording artist Ariana Grande who will perform her single "Problem" and premiere her new song "Break Free" as well as have her hip-hop knowledge tested in a "Hip Hop Mix Up" game. The special will be renamed "Total Ariana Live" and will be 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 gained an average of 456,000 viewers.

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