Back in September, MTV announced that it would be canceling Total Request Live (TRL) after 10 years on the air. The show began after mixing the show MTV Live, which was an afternoon version of the many morning shows on network television, and Total Request, which was a music video countdown show hosted by Carson Daly.
When TRL started in September 1998, many artists now considered to be big names today were just getting their big break on the show. Artists like Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Kid Rock and Korn premiered videos, performed and gave interviews with Daly.
Being broadcast in the after-school hours primed these musicians to become big successes and many of them were in attendance for the live taping of the “Total Finale” of TRL on Sunday, Nov. 16.
“Even though I don’t watch the show anymore, I was sad to find out that it was canceled,” said sophomore Laura Cahill. “TRL has been a staple on MTV for as long as I can remember.”
Students on campus can recall watching the show throughout their teens and used the program as a way of looking for new music. Artists like Rihanna and Good Charlotte became popular on the show.
But as the years dragged on, the show started to fall out of favor with the audience that had made it successful.
The show went from being filmed live every day to only three shows a week filmed live, while the other two were taped in the early morning.
Then in September, MTV announced that the show would be coming to an end in November after surviving a transition to more reality-based formatting.
“I think it ran its course,” said senior Paula Linthicum. “It seems to be less about the music. I think that this was the one time on [MTV] where there was music actually being played and now it’s more about guests and audience [participation].”
For the farewell special, some of the biggest names in music showed up to share their favorite memories, perform and count down the top 10 videos of TRL’s decade on the air. Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time topped the countdown.
Even veteran VJs, such as the show’s first host, Daly, and early VJ Jesse Camp, showed up in support. With hundreds of fans inside the studio and outside watching from the streets, an era came to an end.
Many students viewed the show as a big part of their childhoods and recognized how much TRL impacted their lives and the music they loved.
Though MTV isn’t exactly Music Television anymore, students also believe it was a pop culture event that will be talked about for years to come.
“I think TRL was a phenomenon because it was able to go through so many styles: the boy bands of the ’90s as well as the bubble gum pop female singers, through rapping, through R&B, through alternative rock and everything in between,” said junior Sasha Castro. “A lot of music video shows were canceled, like VH1’s Pop Up Video, and most others are on in the wee hours of the morning when most people are asleep. TRL was definitely special.”