MuchMusic, BET Take Aim At 'TRL'

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Total Request Live, MTV: Music Television's popular afternoon music show, is feeling the heat from two similar programs offering viewers their choice of music videos.

MuchMusic USA and Black Entertainment Television contend that MTV no longer has the market on interactive teen-targeted music programming cornered. Both say their respective series —Dedicate Live!
and 106 & Park— offer viewers more opportunities to request their favorite videos.

Dedicate Live!,
which launched on Valentine's Day, is the latest entry in the interactive-music space. The live, 30-minute music request show, which airs Monday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m., allows viewers to dedicate songs to loved ones — or enemies — via the Web, Much Music USA president Mark Juris said.

Viewers can log onto the MuchMusic USA Web site (www.mmusa.tv) to send in dedications. Juris said the Web site's interactive technology enables viewers to make text dedications and music-video requests via computer, in real time. The network features a list of videos from which viewers can choose.

Unlike TRL— in which MTV runs the videos that receive the most overall votes from viewers —Dedicate Live!
gives individual viewers the opportunity to express themselves while requesting their favorite videos.

"Dedicate Live!
is truly convergent TV," Juris said. "It's about connecting viewers to music, not connecting them to products.

"The notion of letting someone get their message on the air — and share a special moment and song with someone — we believe is very appealing."

BET's 106 & Park
request show is also hot on the heels of TRL. In fact, BET executives said the show has generated higher ratings in its 6 p.m. weekday time slot than MTV's entry, which airs slightly earlier.

Affording viewers an opportunity to choose their favorite R&B and hip-hop videos, the 90-minute program has averaged a 0.77 rating to date, besting TRL's 0.67, according to BET's analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

TRL,
which airs from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., bests 106 & Park
in total household delivery, BET said that its show averages more viewers than MTV's — 685,000 for 106 & Park
to 637,000 for TRL.

BET spokesman Michael Lewellen said the show's success has stemmed from its appeal to viewers, as well as its location in the Harlem section of New York. That locale has attracted top talent from major studios located in the Big Apple.

MTV executives did not return phone calls by press time.

The show helped BET continue last year's rating surge into 2002. BET is averaging a 0.4 total-day rating in 2002, up 33 percent over last year's 0.3 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.

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