MTV is reviving ‘Unplugged’ and other iconic ’90s shows

2015 MTV Video Music Awards - Fixed Show
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

During MTV’s ’90s-era heyday, the channel was filled with some pretty iconic programming, including “The Real World,” “Road Rules,” “Daria” and “Singled Out.” But one of my personal favorites was “Unplugged.” Seeing my favorite artists perform stripped-down versions of their songs was like getting my own personal concert in my living room, making for a unique (and totally ’90s) TV experience. Now the network is bringing the acoustic, performance-based show back!

The first episode, set to air Sept. 8, will feature chart-topping artist Shawn Mendes. At just 19 years old, Mendes wasn’t even born when many artists made their “Unplugged” debuts, but a clip of Pearl Jam rocking out on the show in 1992 inspired him.

shawn mendes photo
Getty Images | Brad Barket

“It wasn’t so much about the commercial, showman side of it; it was really about the music,” Mendes told Variety.

MTV is hoping that the reboot will bring back fans who loved the show in the ’90s, and also introduce the format to a whole new generation. “At MTV, the brand equity is still so strong. It gives us an opportunity to bring back nostalgia and also recruit an entirely new consumer who may not know what ‘Unplugged’ was because they weren’t born,” Amani Duncan, MTV SVP of Music and Executive In Charge of Music for “Unplugged,” explained to Variety.

The network seems intent on reviving some of the magic of their glory days, having also recently announced that it would bring back “Total Request Live,” its popular series that featured the 10 most-requested music videos of the day, as voted by viewers. Sadly, despite some free time opening up in his schedule, Carson Daly will not be back as host of the show.

To plant the revival firmly in 2017, the new “TRL” will also incorporate unique daily content for social media platforms including Instagram and Snapchat. Long live MTV!


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Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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