MTV Is Relaunching TRL, Making VMA “Moonman” Gender Neutral

MTV is bringing Total Request Live back. In a new interview with The New York Times, MTV president Chris McCarthy reveals that the channel’s once-iconic music video countdown show, which originally ran from 1998 to 2008, will be relaunching in October, and a new TRL studio facing Times Square is already under construction. “If we’re going to come back and reinvent MTV, the studio is a given,” he says. “It is the centerpiece.” The new TRL will run an hour a day at first, potentially building to two to three hours a day as the show develops. Five co-hosts, including rapper and comedian DC Young Fly and Chicago radio host Erik Zachary, will be taking over for Carson Daly.

McCarthy is also developing a reality show about gender-nonconforming teens called We Are They, and he’s going all in on gender neutrality at MTV. He’s already made the acting categories in MTV’s annual Movie And TV Awards gender neutral, and soon, the Video Music Awards’ Moonman trophy will instead be called the Moon Person. “Why should it be a man?” McCarthy explains. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”

Elsewhere in the profile, McCarthy gets in a little dig at the late, lamented longform journalism edition of MTV News: “MTV at its best — whether it’s news, whether it’s a show, whether it’s a docu-series — is about amplifying young people’s voices. We put young people on the screen, and we let the world hear their voices. We shouldn’t be writing 6000-word articles on telling people how to feel.”