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MTV Plots ‘Unplugged’ Series Revival

Shawn Mendes to kick off return of classic concert franchise

Brittany Spanos Aug 18, 2017

Shawn Mendes will help kick off MTV's long-planned reboot of the 'Unplugged' franchise.

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MTV will be reviving its popular Unplugged franchise this fall. Shawn Mendes will be the first artist to appear on the reboot, which will air on September 8th.

MTV Unplugged first premiered in 1989 and featured a host of classic episodes with artists, including Nirvana, Jay-Z, Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey and Katy Perry doing acoustic versions of their own songs alongside covers. While never a weekly show, Unplugged occurred semi-regularly for two decades, halting in 2009. Previously, the channel had plotted for the revival to launch last year.

“At MTV, the brand equity is still so strong. It gives 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,” MTV’s SVP of Music and Executive in Charge of Music for Unplugged, Armani Duncan, told Variety.

Mendes’ episode will be filmed in Los Angeles’ Theater at Ace Hotel. The 19-year-old found himself drawn to the franchise after watching a clip of Pearl Jam’s 1992 episode. “It wasn’t so much about the commercial, showman side of it; it was really about the music,” he told Variety.

In late July, MTV also announced that it would bring back another nostalgic franchise: Total Request Live. The popular video countdown series that was most famously hosted by Carson Daly in the early 2000s will return on October 2nd, nearly a decade after the show wrapped up. It will feature five rotating hosts and broadcast from a brand new Times Square studio, the same location of the original incarnation.

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