It's the end of an era. Maybe not a great era, but an era none-the-less. Around the time that MTV started shilling to the tweenaged masses, they moved into their 1515 Broadway studios in Times Square. The year was 1997, the Real World cast was in Boston, and the network was only just starting to be criticized for their lack of, you know, music videos.
Now The NY Post is reporting that, following the end of TRL last year, the studios that overlooked the Crossroads of the World may be changing hands by next year.
Landlord SL Green has put the space on the market, saying it could go retail or to another broadcast, but Viacom didn't renew the studio's lease. He told the paper, "We're taking it back from MTV at end of year. We're actively marketing it, and we think it will be the crowning touch of the retail development we've done since we bought the building." They note that the space lists "at $450 a square foot for the studio, and a whopping $1,000 a square foot for the 1,624-square-foot MTV store at street level, which must be taken with the studio space, for a total rent of $11.6 million a year."
John Norris gave us his thoughts on the alleged studio closure; he joined the MTV team when they were at their second home, "a pretty ramshackle facility at 42nd and 10th Ave known at the time as National video" (and later home to NY1).
"The Times Square studio opening marked a pretty spectacular (though less spacious) upgrade. Obviously it became emblematic of a new era and new look for MTV.
It was never about the set as much as the windows, never as much about who was hosting as it was who was guesting, and of course the crowds outside. Needless to say broadcast and cable networks the world over took a cue from the TRL model and created nutso, sign-waving-crowds of their own.
But the studio it seems was indelibly linked to TRL. When TRL ended last November, a lot of us wondered what would happen to the studio. Apparently now we see. The Alexa Chung show this summer didn't even use the windows. If you're not gonna use that view, why pay that rent?"
He also shared an anecdote from the glory days, saying when he visited the Times Square location for the first time "it was a bank! I remember walking through it and having someone tell me 'OK there's where the control room is gonna be.'"