Picture this: a time before smart phones. A time before YouTube, Instagram and music streaming services. A time — way back in the late 1990s and early 2000s — when, in order to get to know your favorite music celebrities and see the music videos all your friends were talking about at recess, you had to flip the channel to MTV and tune in to Total Request Live, hosted by the fresh-faced Carson Daly.
On TRL, an eager audience was served up two critical components of pop culture: the hottest music videos of the era and live appearances from the stars themselves at the Times Square studio. TRL was known for both directing and reflecting the opinions of then-young millennials. The fashions! The unscripted moments! The on-air flirting! It all came to a close in 2008, though, as MTV veered away from its music roots, continuing its pivot towards reality TV programming.
This fall, however, MTV is bringing it back. Re-launching on Monday, Oct. 2, the new TRL is going to be a whole different beast. Instead of Carson Daly, they’ve tapped a crew of lesser-known social media influencers and MCs for the show. MTV is calling this an “always-on content engine” that will “bring teen passion points to life. Already, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, Noah Cyrus and Migos are slated to appear in its first week. It will air live on weekdays at 3:30 p.m. EST from an expanded Times Square studio, just like in the good old days.
In honor of its return, let’s take a walk through memory lane and relive some of the show’s most memorable moments over its ten-year original run.