MTV’s “Direct Effect”

We have seen the future of interactive hip-hop TV, and frankly, the point completely eludes us. For the past few months, MTV has been promising to take the genre to the "next level," but as far as we can tell, all it's really managed to do is keep former "Real World: Hawaii" regular Teck gainfully employed as the host of its Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. lineup.

Rating: * *

We have seen the future of interactive hip-hop TV, and frankly, the point completely eludes us. For the past few months, MTV has been promising to take the genre to the “next level,” but as far as we can tell, all it’s really managed to do is keep former “Real World: Hawaii” regular Teck gainfully employed as the host of its Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. lineup.

The live interactive component of the show uses real-time online voting technology to let viewers decide which videos they want to see on the air. So the patient at-home user can watch in-studio celebrity interviews, live performances and CD reviews, while Teck and Funkmaster Flex (NYC’s Hot 97 radio) spin the latest from artists such as Nelly, Cash Money, Jay Z and Li’l Kim.

The big question mark with these types of interactive shows is how many MTV viewers really want to keep hopping back and forth from their computer monitors to their cable screen, only to ensure that their favorite Outkast video gets played when they come home from school.

And it’s not like there are so many choices out there. If viewers log on when the show is not on the air, they can vote for the “Direct Effect” opening video, and when sampling the site, there is a choice between three, count ’em three, Outkast cuts.

If the show proves anything it’s that there is life after “The Real World.” After watching Teck drag viewers to the edges of ennui in the Hawaii season, nobody could have predicted that the rapper-wannabe would land gig after gig on the music cabler.

One note, though. As is the case with most MTV shows and features, “Direct Effect” has a cutting-edge futuristic design and offers killer giveaways. In November, for example, fans who correctly answered a trivia question had a chance of winning a trip to New York City and a spanking new Humvee. For that reason alone, we can see why viewers would tune in to catch the show. But as far as the rest of the content is concerned, the producers would be wise to listen to the words of hip-hop artist Talib Kweli and do their best to “Move Something.”

Popular on Variety

MTV's "Direct Effect"

Production: Producer, Kelly Alfieri; launch, October 2000.

Cast: Rating: * *

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