2:30pm PT by Jackie Strause, Lesley Goldberg
'Total Request Live' Showrunner Exits (Exclusive)
MTV's Total Request Live reboot is losing its chief creative force.
Showrunner Albert Lewitinn, who launched the franchise last year, has exited. He is not being replaced as the internal production team will continue to run the franchise.
"Albert was brought on to help launch TRL and now that it's under way, he has decided to return to news production," an MTV spokesperson said.
Lewitinn is a veteran of the television business, having previously worked for CNN, HLN and ABC News. Before taking the helm of the TRL revival, he oversaw daily programming for CBS News' streaming news service, CBSN.
The decision comes as MTV is expanding the TRL franchise to include three different dayparts. MTV is fast-tracking an hourlong weekday morning edition, Total Request AM, which was originally set to air in the summer but will now launch Monday, April 23, at 8 a.m. ET/PT. MTV News veteran Sway Calloway will host; a co-host to join him will be announced shortly. The morning edition will air with limited commercials and feature musical performances, celebrity interviews and a music video countdown. Meanwhile, the revived TRL afternoon edition will be pushed back from its early April return to air in tandem with the morning version on April 23 at 3 p.m. Additionally, the Total Request LateNight edition will expand to three nights a week in the summer and to four nights by year's end.
Lewitinn's tenure as showrunner was not without controversy. Ahead of TRL's debut, Lewitinn came under fire for an interview where he said he would "love" to have President Donald Trump appear on the show, and left the door open when asked about two musicians who have been accused of domestic abuse.
On Tuesday, MTV will bow Total Request Live Party With Cardi, an hourlong special hosted by Sway Calloway and Cardi B's sister, Hennessy Carolina, which will feature the singer live in studio to discuss her new album, look back on her big year and count down her top 10 biggest moments.