It’s off. After just two short seasons, MTV’s live talk show, It’s On With Alexa Chung, will be going silent after its final episode airs on December 17th. The series, hosted by the British TV personality, featured interviews, musical guests and pop-culture news. It debuted as an hour-long program in June, but was cut by 30 minutes in October. MTV programming president Tony DiSanto told Variety the network is “100 percent committed” to a studio-based, live pop-culture show with music and interviews, but that the network was still trying to perfect the right formula.
“The difference between these [and scripted shows] is you have to develop these on the air,” said DiSanto, adding that “we make the changes until we settle on the show that’s what we want.” Chung’s contract with the network expires in early 2010, but MTV indicated that it might continue its relationship with the host for future projects,
Though the network has had little trouble developing reality and non-music shows that rake in massive ratings, MTV has been struggling to find a music program that can connect with viewers since Total Request Live‘s ratings started to dip earlier this decade. The show’s audience peaked in 1999, when 757,000 viewers would watch the afternoon’s countdown of the top 10 videos. After MTV announced TRL would go off the air November 16th, they tried replacing it with FNMTV, a Friday night music video program that taped live and was hosted by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. The show featured big-name guests like Snoop Dogg and the Pussycat Dolls, but vanished after five months.
MTV brought back its Unplugged franchise, which was nixed in 1997, for a handful of specials between 2005 and 2007. This year, Adele, Silversun Pickups, Katy Perry and Paramore stripped down their songs for the show’s official return. The performances aired on MTV’s Website, and selections appeared on the network during its morning music programming.
Headbangers Ball still airs — though on MTV2 — and the hard-rock show celebrated its 20th anniversary in October.
At the 2007 Video Music Awards, Justin Timberlake famously chastised MTV for its lack of music programming, ranting from the stage, “Play more damn videos. We don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television. Play more videos.”