MTV has a fairly new president and he has been making a lot of changes in attempt to revive the network. Chris McCarthy took over in late 2016 and believes that incorporating more live television will help bring MTV’s ratings back up. Within the past five years, MTV’s ratings have “nose-dived”, despite strategic attempts to improve viewership. Mr. McCarthy spoke with The New York Times regarding construction of a massive new studio in Times Square with the hope that it will bring viewers back to the time when they could look forward to watching their favorite music videos daily on “Total Request Live”. “If we’re going to come back and reinvent MTV, the studio is a given. It is the centerpiece, McCarthy said. He believes that this “centerpiece” will be the beginning of MTV’s comeback. “When you came into Times Square, you would say, ‘Let’s go to MTV,’” McCarthy continued.
Indeed, I remember looking forward to coming home from school each day to watch TRL with host Carson Daly. The popular show came on each afternoon from 1998 to 2008 and ran more than 2,240 episodes. The TRL studio seemed almost magical in a way, with many musicians and celebrity guests appearing and always a crowd full of gawkers and screaming fans on the street below. I also had these plans that if and when I finally made my way to Times Square, the TRL studio would be a must-see for me. It has not happened yet but the intention is still there!
Things have certainly changed for the network and parent company Viacom since the hit show ended but McCarthy hopes that by bringing back TRL, the enthusiasm and success of the show back in the day will help improve MTV’s ratings. The revived show will have five co-hosts this time and is set to return this October in the brand new constructed studio in Times Square. The co-hosts include rapper-comedian DC Young Fly, Chicago radio host Erik Zachary, DJ-actress Amy Pham, TV personality Lawrence Jackson and writer-producer Tamara Dhia. MTV is also negotiating with YouTube personalities and other potential candidates to find additional hosts for the revival. “TRL 2.0” will start with an hour a day, as it was before, with the potential to expand to two or three hours per day.
MTV is also currently working on other live shows and McCarthy has enjoyed recent success in returning to MTV’s “roots”. This past Monday, a brand new show called Siesta Key premiered, which very much resembles Laguna Beach and The Hills. Fear Factor was also recently revived, with rapper Ludacris as the host. So far it seems like McCarthy’s got a good start, with this June being MTV’s recorded best since 2011 among its core demographic of 18-34 year olds. Viacom’s chief executive, Robert Bakish stated, “When Chris got in, he analyzed the situation, we talked about it and he quickly arrived at the conclusion that the programming direction was wrong. He reset the brand filter, cleaned out the pipeline and began building a new MTV that’s much more based on reality, unscripted and music content.” When McCarthy started, he quickly “killed” more than 100 projects that were in development. “MTV at its best — whether it’s news, whether it’s a show, whether it’s a docu-series — is about amplifying young people’s voices. We put young people on the screen, and we let the world hear their voices. We shouldn’t be writing 6,000-word articles on telling people how to feel”, McCarthy stated. This he said in regards to MTV having decided in 2015 to put resources into MTV News and hiring journalists, which he believed did not align with the network’s mission and therefore pulled the plug.
Other recent changes attributed to McCarthy include the incorporation of TV into the annual movie awards, making acting categories gender neutral and changing next month’s Video Music Awards’ Moonman to “Moon Person”. “Why should it be a man? It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”, McCarthy said.
For years, viewers have complained and accused MTV of abandoning music and replacing it with reality shows, so hopefully the decision to revive TRL will help bring more music back to the network. McCarthy seems to agree, stating,“It’s the right route. When you talk to artists and they say to you, unaware of what we’re doing, can you bring back ‘TRL’? We’d be crazy not to reinvent that.”
TRL returns to MTV Monday, October 2nd. Who’s excited and plans to watch? Do you think bringing back TRL is a good idea?
Written by Kelly S
Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GetRealLOLMTV/
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/GRLOLMTV