Is bringing back a classic the answer for MTV or a total mistake?
MTV is trying to get back to its roots. Well, as close to its roots as you can get without showing music videos. In the vein of one of the network's biggest hits, Total Request Live, the network announced yesterday it would be launching a new daily show that would air live from TRL's old Times Square Studio. The new series, currently titled MTV Live, is set to debut on June 12th and aspires to be a new cultural touchstone like TRL was. The content of the show remains vague, with an Adweek profile of MTV's president simply suggesting it will feature, "a mixture of music and other elements".
So what might this mean? Well for one thing it's yet another sign that MTV is looking to the success it had in the early 2000's as a map for its future. Last week we reported on the network's new millennial-skewing Fear Factor reboot arriving this summer, but it'll also be joined by revived MTV reality favorites like My Super Sweet Sixteen and Parental Control. With nostalgia proving a powerful force in the TV landscape, the network looks to win back audience members who grew up with these types of series' as well as younger viewers coming across them for the first time. Additionally the new series finds itself with little-to-no competition in terms of live, younger skewing daytime programing, which could help it stand out amongst the crowd.
There are some major risks in the idea though, with the biggest being that audience members may not care anymore. With cord cutting still prominent amongst viewers, the question becomes whether or not the series will offer enough to win back viewers who've moved on from the network. With streaming and Internet services making music now more accessible than ever, the series loses the hook that TRL's video countdown format had. The network also fails to mention what personalities may be involved in the new program. While the original TRL was able to get by on Carson Daly's blandly youthful charms, the new series may require a stronger personality to fuel the program without a countdown structure. And with talk shows, particularly late night ones, already arriving by the boatload, standing out will prove essential for its survival.
Though there's plenty of time for the network to iron out the details, count us as skeptical about this TRL 2.0's chances, but still a little intrigued by its potential.