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Roger Catlin

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MTV's New TRL Is The Seven

Posted: 09/28/10 05:16 PM ET

It's been nearly two years since TRL quit after a decade and 2,247 episodes.

But there's still a need for MTV to have a later afternoon live weekday show, if only to cash in on favors and give promotional time to stars pimping new movies or releasing new albums.

Enter The Seven, which began its own run Monday looking very similar to its predecessor, from its enthusiastic hosts to an even more enthusiastic (though limited) audience, to a Times Square perch (except this time way, way up 20 floors or so, as if to avoid having fans gather at street level for a glimpse, or to give away free advertising to the oversized billboards -- as it was, all you could see was Toshiba at the top of a building where the ball drops).

Once MTV was the captain of all such things cool and about kids. But The Seven seems a little tired and borrowed, not only from the old TRL but from the similar entertainment countdown approach of say, The Daily 10 E! to its guy-girl host interaction, now done much better on G4's Attack of the Show.

Actually, Kevin Manno, borrowed from Chicago's Q101, is fine in his way as a host without pretention; Julie Alexandria, a former host on "Mets Weekly," though, has just a little too much sweetness and enthusiasm to make her almost seem out of place (do we really imagine her to be a Lil' Wayne fan as she claims?).

It's interesting that the top 7 countdown that defines the hourlong show are pop culture stories of their defining and certainly not a countdown of music videos, which was the mainstay of TRL, back when MTV actually played music videos.

Monday's countdown began with a jailhouse phone interview with Lil' Wayne which would seem to qualify for a higher rank than seven, but then again they wanted to kick off the show with something newsworthy.

But how much news is there in this? We heard how much longer he has to fulfill his sentence but not a second about why he's there (an eight month sentence for a weapons charge).

It was Weezy's birthday, however, and he was releasing a new album. "I Am Not a Human Being," a title that sort of sounds like a confession in exchange for a lesser charge.

Another question might be: How easy was it for MTV to arrange to get a phone call into Rikers if it has to do with album promotion (and how much more difficult was it to get him to call the show live to surprise a guest later in the show, Drake?)?

Unlike TRL, there were no performances on the show. And though Justin Timberlake was part of the first show's guest roster as well, he mostly hung back as part of the three man ensemble with Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield to talk about their roles in the soon to open film The Social Network.

Among the other "seven things you need to know about today" selected for the first show was Taylor Lautner's early years as a karate champ and a new hire to Glee. And AnnaLynne McCord of 90210 cooking macaroni (a pre-taped segment that was the flattest of the hour).

Nothing, though, about the world in which young people live. No news about that.

 

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