Lights Set To Go Out on ‘TRL’

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The New York Sun

Start the countdown clock on MTV’s countdown era: “Total Request Live” will soon shut down after 10 years on the air.

The music video show will conclude in a two-hour special on a Saturday afternoon in November, Dave Sirulnick, executive producer of “TRL,” said Monday. He stressed that the show wasn’t ending for good, but felt that now was the right time to give it a break after an unprecedented run on the cable music channel.

“We want to close this era of ‘TRL’ in a big celebratory way, and 10 is a great number,” Mr. Sirulnick said. “And 10 is the number that ‘TRL’ counted down every single day for 10 years, and we hit this 10th (anniversary) and we thought, ‘You know what? This feels like the right time and let’s celebrate it and let’s reward it. And let’s let it have a little bit of a rest for a minute.’ Let it catch its breath. Been working hard — for 10 years.”

“TRL” made its debut in September 1998 and became the splashy center of the teen pop music scene with Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and other acts. From its heyday until 2008, it’s been a destination for musicians, movie stars, and celebrities promoting their new music, movies, and other projects.

Mr. Sirulnick said that “TRL” — which airs weekday afternoons from MTV’s Times Square studio — lost some luster as it aged. It peaked in 1999 with 757,000 viewers tuning in daily, according to Nielsen Media Research.

“It becomes more of a mainstay and more of an institution than — pardon the pun — the new kid on the block,” Mr. Sirulnick said.

For the finale, Mr. Sirulnick said he hopes to celebrate with many of the “folks who helped make ‘TRL’ what it is — whether that’s Justin (Timberlake) and his guys in N’Sync, the Backstreet Boys, Britney, Eminem — I think we would love to see all of them here.” That includes former host Carson Daly.

In a statement, Eminem said: “I’m going to miss ‘TRL.’ … 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!”

MTV found a replacement of sorts with “FNMTV.” The show made its debut over the summer in a 15-episode run hosted by Pete Wentz, bassist for rock band Fall Out Boy. Taped in Los Angeles, it aired Friday nights and televised exclusive music videos and performances by such diverse acts as Slipknot and the Jonas Brothers.

MTV said it was bringing “FNMTV” back for another run in mid-November. Like last time, there will be no video countdown with the 10 viewer favorites.


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