MTV’s iconic music video countdown show TRL was on air for a decade starting in 1998, becoming the top show to watch after school for every teenager. TRL brought had memorable appearances by some of the era’s biggest pop stars that went on to shape pop culture, from Mariah Carey’s surprise meltdown visit complete with ice cream and a striptease, to Eminem straight up asking host Carson Daly if he actually liked the videos shown on the show. Now that TRL’s finally making a return, here’s a look back at the vintage TRL we know and love.
(L-R) MTV VJs Vanessa Minnillo, Sway, Jesse Camp, Carson Daly, Hilarie Burton, Susie Castillo, Damien Fahey, La La Vazquez, Quddus and Tim Kash attend MTV's TRL 'Total Finale Live' at the MTV studios in Times Square on Nov. 16, 2008 in New York City.
Daly started out on MTV as a VJ for a summer segment based in California called Motel California. After nearly three months, he was invited to become the host for TRL in New York. Daly quickly became a celebrity just as big as the guests on the show, known for his perchant for nail polish and cool demeanor. Daly left TRL in 2003 to host his own late nigh show Last Call With Carson Daly.
In 1998, MTV hosted a competition in search for a new addition to the TRL VJ crew called Wanna Be a VJ, where the winner would be awarded $25,000 and a two-week contract with TRL. Holmes stood out in the competition as a huge music fan, ending up as runner-up and losing to Jesse Camp. He may not have gotten to be a TRL VJ, but Holmes made enough of a big impression on MTV to end up on other shows from that era, including being a VJ in the iconic MTV Beach House for Eye Spy Video.
Lachey (née Minnillo) joined TRL as a VJ from 2003 until 2007, and went on to become one of the show's most memorable hosts. Besides kickstarting her career on television, her time on TRL changed her life forever by introducing her to husband Nick Lachey. The pair met when Lachey decided to have the VJ in his video for "What's Left of Me" as a ploy to get it on TRL -- the rest is history.
Camp was the winner of Wanna Be a VJ, known for his zany, rockstar persona that made him the polar opposite of runner-up Dave Holmes. While he was a controversial pick for TRL, he was a perfect fit for television, fascinating viewers with his kooky demeanor, that felt like a character. Even though he won a slot on TRL that was expanded from two weeks, his time on the show only lasted a year.
When Daly left in 2002, Fahey served as replacement, starting a new era of TRL. Fahey went on to host until the end of the show, becoming the program's longest-running host. He may not have gotten the same recognition as Daly, but he was recognized for his witty humor, going on to become a writer for Family Guy, Funny Or Die and The Morning After.
Shortly after graduating high school, Burton moved to New York City in hopes to make her dreams of being onscreen come true. In 2000, she won the opportunity to be on TRL, meant to only appear as a guest commenter on one segment. Her appearance was a hit, and she ended up staying full-time after impressing producers and viewers alike. In 2003, she left TRL to move on to acting, appearing as a series regular in One Tree Hill.
As TRL experienced major changes in its cast while Daly prepared to leave the show, Canadian VJ Quddus became one of the new additions. After five years on the show, he left to pursue other hosting opportunities and acting gigs, including Access Hollywood, CSI: Miami, and more.
La La Anthony
Like Lachey, La La Anthony (formerly Vázquez) became one of the most recognizable female VJs on the show, despite her short time on MTV. She joined TRL in 2001 with no previous on-camera experience, but quickly won over viewers. After leaving the show in 2003, she went on to have a prolific career in television, hosting numerous VH1 reality shows and appearing in films such as Think Like a Man, Double Play, Deuces, and more.
Castillo joined the show in 2005 in the last few years of TRL. Her time on the show may have been short, but TRL helped her start her career as correspondant, which eventually encompassed roles on E! News and EXTRA!
Colletti is best known for being on MTV's Laguna Beach, but at one point, the heartthrob joined TRL as a temporary VJ shortly after the hit reality show ended.
Australian VJ Rodrigues joined TRL in 2007 right before the end of the iconic show.
Calloway -- best known as just Sway -- was a vital part of MTV in the early 21st century. As host of The Wake Up Show and other MTV shows, Sway naturally ended up making frequent visits to TRL, despite never hosting it.
Like Sway, Pak became an MTV personality that was on multiple MTV news segments, including the MTV Movie Awards and the VMAs. She may not have been an official TRL VJ but she made multiple appearances on the show.
Kurt Loder wasn't one of the TRL VJs, but the elder statesman was one of MTV's most prominent VJs in the era right before the show began, appearing on The Week in Rock. He shaped MTV history by being the one to announce the death of Kurt Cobain live on the channel, and helped shape what became TRL. He'd pop into the show once in a while, too.
Like Loder, Norris was an influential MTV figure, becoming the senior correspondant for MTV News in 2000. He occassionally made appearances on TRL during his time on the network.