EXCLUSIVE: Saturday Night Live alumna Maya Rudolph is returning to NBC with a new variety series project produced by SNL honcho Lorne Michaels, this time in primetime. The network has ordered a pilot for a variety series headlined by Rudolph. I hear the plan is to air the pilot as a special after the Winter Olympics. Rudolph is executive producing with Michaels, Erin David and Dave Becky. The project has been in the works for several months. When NBC comedy series Up All Night, in which Rudolph co-starred with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, did not go forward with the planned multi-camera revamp in February, Rudolph, along with her co-stars, began fielding pilot offers. Rudolph didn’t entertain them, indicating to studios and networks that she was interested in doing a variety show instead. NBC was among several suitors who began pursuing the project, leading to the pilot order. This marks the latest collaboration between Rudolph and Michaels, who also produced Up All Night. Rudolph, daughter of soul singer Minnie Riperton, was one of SNL‘s most popular cast members of the past decade. Her seven-year stint produced a string of memorable impersonations and original characters that often included music performances, including her recurring gigs as Beyoncé Knowles, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand as well as Oprah, Donnatella Versace and Michelle Obama. Last year she made a triumphant return to SNL with a very well received stint as host. Rudolph, repped by WME,3 Arts and attorney David J. Matlof, was recently seen in the features The Grown Ups 2 and The Way Way Back.
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