Read an Excerpt
Since its debut in September 1998, Total Request Live has become the hottest show on TV. If you watch TRL, you understand what it's about. Indulge us for a few lines while we bring any less enlightened mortals we have among us up to speed.
As soon as it was created by combining elements of the existing shows MTV Live and Total Request, TRL blasted off, launching with it a whole lot of bands and artists and the TV superstardom of host Carson Daly. Put simply, TRL mixes videos with live appearances by bands and celebrity guests. The videos are arranged in a top-ten countdown voted for by fans over the phone or by e-mail. Other videos get their world premiere on TRL.
As its name suggests, it's all done absolutely live. No "take two" allowed. Lured by the prospect of getting on live TV, the studio at Forty-fifth Street and Broadway in New York City is thronged with crazed fans waving homemade signs hoping to spot a star, come up to the studio, or shout out their favorite video and why they love it. It's the best-rated daily program on MTV, and at it's on at 3:30 in the afternoon, which is a time usually associated with talk shows and infomercials, not awesome shows with good ratings.
As we said, if you're a fan, you know all this. How do you show you're a TRL fan? You'll watch, definitely. You might also have voted for a video or phoned in. You might have visited a Web site that tracks artist appearances or look up TRL on MTV.com. Or, most devotedly, you may have stood on Broadway screaming your guts out. (People have slept out in Times Square hoping to get in the studio with 'NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys, but this is music television, everyone, not an immunity challenge on Survivor.)
Whatever you do, there's a lot of you doing it more than a million people watch the show each day. The Web site gets more than two million page views a week. And, as Carson says most days, the show is all about the fans. You vote the videos onto the show and, much as they'd probably love to, record companies can't mess with the voting. Because it's strictly on the up and up, TRL is a genuine barometer of what people are into at any given moment.
TRL can make a performer a star in the length of time it takes to run a video from the start to the end. Or in the time it takes Carson to interview a singer who goes on to give a hot performance. But it's the fans who are making the music history and the careers right there from home. If you don't like the music, log on or dial in and change it.
This book will show you how MTV gets TRL on the air live every day without mishaps. Well, without too many mishaps. We'll go behind the scenes and meet the people who put the show together and how they do it. We'll tell something about the hosts and the other familiar faces you see weekdays at 3:30. We'll look at the TRL experiences of some of the biggest vote-catching bands and artists. TRL regulars like Jessica Simpson, Fred Durst, and Blink-182 say what going on TRL means to them.
To finish, we'll hear about some screw-ups, weird guests, near-disasters, and other good stuff like that. (Why did Dave Holmes brain a woman with a bottle of water at Woodstock? Who flashed the crowd out of the studio window? What was up with Fred Durst blowing up a boat at Isle of MTV?) All this and more.
It's totally TRL.